French Police fire tear gas as yellow vest protests turn violent in Paris
Police fired tear gas at ‘yellow vest’ demonstrators in Paris on Saturday while the turnout for round seven of the popular protests that have rocked France appeared low. The protesters say the low turnout is because of Christmas and New Year Holidays.
Iran Press/Europe: Several hundred people wearing the symbolic hi-visibility vests had gathered near the offices of several state-run television stations and the BFM TV channel in the centre of Paris, shouting 'Fake news' and calling for the resignation of President Emmanuel Macron, AFP reported.
Protesters spilled onto tram lines and lobbed projectiles at police who replied with tear gas grenades and detained several people.
Several cars were also set alight outside the offices of the Le Parisien newspaper, although a fire service spokesman said it was not clear if the blaze was linked to the protests.
Tear gas was also fired in Nantes, western France, and protests were expected in Lyon, Bordeaux and Toulouse.
In the southern city of Marseille, police said 900 protesters turned out, amid cries of 'Macron out.'
The official turnout numbers have plunged with the passing weeks. The government recorded 38,600 demonstrators on December 22 compared to 282,000 for the first major demonstrations on November 17.
But leading figures within the movement that has flourished outside of trade union and political groups, say the low numbers are due to the holiday season and January will bring a resurgence of the street protests.
The focus of the protests has morphed from anger over fuel taxes to a broad rebuke of Macron, accused by critics of neglecting the rising costs of living for many in rural and small-town France.
“We want to get our purchasing power back and have a say in the decisions,” said Priscillia Ludosky, who launched the yellow vest petition against fuel price hikes.
Nearly 8,000 people are listed on Facebook as intending to attend, insisting it will be 'festive and non-violent.'
Paris officials said preparations would continue for a fireworks display and sound and light show on the Champs-Elysee, the epicentre of repeated violent action against the government, with the Arc de Triomphe ransacked on December 1. 103