Paris (AFP) – French police said they arrested more than 200 “yellow vest” demonstrators in Paris on Saturday as clashes broke out with demonstrators turning out for a 23rd week of anti-government protests.
AFP journalists reported scuffles between police and protesters in the afternoon, after hours of calm, as police used stun grenades and tear gas to disperse marchers in the centre of the French capital.
Some protesters threw bottles and other objects at police and set fire to vehicles, safety barriers and bins.
Between the two major squares of Bastille and Republique the damage done had been considerable, said Emmanuel Gregoire, deputy mayor of Paris, told AFP.
“The violence has to stop!” he added.
Across France, the authorities mobilised more than 60,000 police officers and paramilitary gendarmes to try to contain what they feared would be a surge in violence similar to the March 16 riots that wrought havoc along the Champs-Elysees.
Paris police reported 227 arrests and more than 20,500 checks on individual protesters. By early evening, 178 had been detained, including six minors, said the prosecutors office.
Interior Minister Christophe Castaner congratulated the police on limiting the damage, “despite the willingness of some demonstrators to break things again”.
Although the main protest took place in Paris this weekend, there were also demonstrations in other cities, including Lille in the north and Bordeaux and Toulouse in the southwest.
Paris (AFP) – Paris prosecutors have launched an investigation after French anti-government protesters in the latest of a series of demonstrations shouted slogans mocking police over a spate of recent suicides in the force, judicial sources said Sunday.
The “yellow vest” protesters took to the streets of Paris Saturday for the 23rd weekend to protest against the policies of President Emmanuel Macron, again clashing with police in a tense standoff.
But French politicians and police unions angrily condemned some demonstrators who chanted “commit suicide, commit suicide!” at the police forces on Saturday.
France’s national police force has been troubled by a worrying increase in suicides within its numbers this year, with 28 officers taking their lives so far in 2019. In 2018 as a whole, 35 police committed suicide nationwide.
“Shame on those who have given into such ignominy,” Interior Minister Christophe Castaner wrote on Twitter above a video of protesters chanting the slogan.
Paris prosecutors have now opened a probe into “contempt of a person carrying out public authority at a meeting,” a judicial source told AFP, confirming an earlier report by French radio station RTL.