French yellow vest protests stretch into 9th straight week

12 Janvier, 2019, 18:22 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Yellow vest protests hit with police water cannon tear gas in ParisMore

On Monday, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced that 80,000 security force members would be deployed nationwide on Saturday.

This is the fifth weekend such a protest has taken place in Dublin, sparked by similar demonstrations which started in France a year ago.

French officials said Friday they expect this weekend's "yellow vest" demonstrations to be bigger and more violent than a week ago, as the protest movement which had shown signs of fatigue gains fresh impetus.

TRT World's Editor at Large Craig Copetas has more from Paris.

Police said some 30 people had been detained in the capital earlier for carrying weapons or other charges.

"I had some hope with this "great debate", but it's not looking good because they don't want to talk about taxes, and they're the ones who are deciding the subjects", said Patrick Lerest, a 62-year-old protester in Nemours, southeast of Paris.

Around 1,000 demonstrators also made their way to the hippodrome and caused a delay of races in the horseracing town of Chantilly, north of Paris.

Outside the capital, major Yellow Vest protests engulfed Marseille, Bordeaux, Lyon, Strasbourg, and other cities.

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Quand la déflagration s'est produite, des pompiers de Paris intervenaient justement pour une fuite de gaz dans la rue de Trévise. Selon des sources policières, l'explosion serait d'origine accidentelle et pourrait avoir été provoquée par une fuite de gaz.

French gendarmes stand guard with their armoured vehicles (VBRG) in front of the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs-Elysees avenue, during an anti-government demonstration called by the Yellow Vest movement in Paris, on January 12, 2019.

National police chief Eric Morvan told France Inter radio he expected turnout to be on a par with mid-December for the ninth consecutive Saturday of protests, which have repeatedly ended in clashes with police and the destruction of property.

"Those who are calling to demonstrate tomorrow know there will be violence, and therefore they are in part responsible", Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said in a Facebook interview Friday with Brut, a digital news site favoured by many yellow vests.

The movement, which began as protests over high fuel taxes, has snowballed into a wholesale rejection of Macron and his policies, which are seen favouring the wealthy at the expense of rural and small-town France.

Macron has called for a national debate starting next week to hear voters' grievances, hoping to sate demands for more of a say in national law-making and tamp down the protesters' anger.

Some protesters accuse the police of fanning the flames by using tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades against demonstrators.

But the public consultations risk being hobbled by record levels of distrust towards politicians and representatives of the state.

A poll by the Cevipof political sciences institute released Friday showed 77 percent of respondents thought politicians inspired "distrust", "disgust" or "boredom".

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