Paris police fire tear gas to stop yellow vest protesters

Paris police fire tear gas to stop yellow vest protesters

Paris police fire tear gas to stop yellow vest protesters

The yellow vest movement erupted 10 months ago and blindsided President Emmanuel Macron, whom protesters accuse of being out of touch with the needs of ordinary French people.

People take part in an anti-government demonstration called by the "yellow vest" (gilets jaunes) movement, on September 21, 2019 in Paris.

Saturday also marked France's annual heritage weekend, a popular event in which many cultural sites are open to the public.

Paris Police Commissioner Didier Lallement had told reporters the police contingent Saturday would match that of the protests back in May, which turned violent with 38 people injured and 380 arrests.

Local authorities had issued a decree Wednesday forbidding the yellow vest protests on the Champs-Elysees over the weekend. The demonstrations finally petered out this summer.

Mr Macron made multiple concessions to the movement, including a €10 billion package of measures to boost purchasing power.

A key figure in the yellow-vest movement, Jerome Rodrigues, had billed Saturday's protest as "a revelatory demonstration", claiming "many people are going to come to Paris".

There were further confrontations on the Champs-Elysees in the evening, with news channels showing clouds of tear gas and the fire brigade putting out a small fire.

The atmosphere at the peaceful march grew tense when dozens of individuals dressed in black, many wearing masks and hoods, mixed in with the marchers.

Police fired tear gas and sting-ball grenades several times.

There is also a planned pensions reform protest organised by France's Force Ouvriere (Worker's Force) union in Paris this Saturday.

Some sites, such as the Arc de Triomphe monument that suffered damage during a yellow-vest protest last December, were closed while others such as the Elysee presidential palace required visitors to register in advance.

After first marching with the yellow vests, around 1,000 radical demonstrators joined a separate march against climate change where they provoked clashes with police, authorities said.

Claire Parker and Oleg Cetinic in Paris contributed to the story.

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