Timeless art destroyed, 12,000 canisters of tear gas fired in anti-Macron riots in Paris
- French President Emmanuel Macron has directed his prime minister to begin talks with the heads of the “Jaune gilet” demonstrators, the “Yellow Vests” who sacked parts of the French capital over the weekend.
- Macron was taken to the Arc de Triomphe on Sunday, the scene of the worst violence, upon his return from the G20 summit in Argentina.
- French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe will be on point for Macron with the protest organisers as part of the Elysee Palace’s “constant wish for dialogue,” the Elysee said in a statement.
- According to Radio Europe 1, more than 12,000 canisters of tear gas were fired by the Parisien gendarmerie during the clashes.
- The protesters come from a divided France and take issue with Macron’s policies, which they feel only benefit the rich.
French President Emmanuel Macron’s government will meet with the “Gilets Jaunes” demonstrators, or the “Yellow Vests” after reports that security forces fired over 12,000 canisters of tear gas at protestors who sacked parts of the French capital in scenes of violence that shocked Paris over the weekend.
Macron was taken to the Arc de Triomphe on Sunday, the scene of the worst violence, upon his return from the G20 summit in Argentina.
The Prime Minister Edouard Philippe is being sent to meet protest organisers and party leaders as part of a “constant wish for dialogue,” the Elysee Palace said.
Environment Minister Francois de Rugy met representatives of the “yellow vests” last week but failed to convince them to end the protests, Agence France Presse reported on Sunday night.
Demonstrators had earlier written in graffiti on the historic paris monument, itself raised in honor of the French revolutionaries who died storming the Bastille: “We have the right to revolt,” “Macron resign” and “The yellow vests will triumph!”
According to Radio Europe 1 several dozens of cars were torched, buildings set aflame, and shop windows smashed while riot-gear clad officers set up a perimeter and began firing tear gas and water cannons into the crowds.
The heavy clashes started shortly before 09:00 CET on the Place de l’Etoile, at the foot of the Arc de Triomphe, when groups of people tried to force their way through a police checkpoint Police set up the checkpoint to prevent a planned protest from turning violent like it had the previous week.
The situation escalated from there according to most reports.
Dressed in distinguishing vests and gas masks, the 1,500 protesters or so began tearing at the streets, ripping up ancient cobblestones off the paved road and engaging in running battles with the gendarmerie and the riot squad.
In a statement released by the Elysee, Macron said he has asked his interior minister to prepare security forces for more protests and directed the prime minister to hold talks with political party leaders and representatives of the protesters.
“What happened today in Paris has nothing to do with the peaceful expression of a legitimate anger,” Macron said.
However, the 40 year-old president and former investment banker may be regretting his earlier dismissive attitude toward the Gilet Jaunes when he said they were “shaming France,” by protesting over the rising price of fuel.
Since then the demonstrators that have expressed such outrage have turned their fury on the broader policies of the Macron administration, and on the president himself.
Macron toured the devastated Champs-Elysee and the Arch de Triomphe, shattered glass and shop fronts, roads ripped up, the shells of burned out cas and perhaps hardest for the president to see – graffiti on the walls of the Arch de Triomph denouncing the presidency.
Inside was even worse
A vandalizes statue of the Marianne, a symbol in France, seen inside the Arc de Triomphe, as protesters wearing yellow vests (gilets jaunes) entered the Arc de Triomphe monument during clashes with riot police as part of a demonstration over high fuel prices on the Champs Elysee in Paris, France, 01 December 2018. ELYXANDRO CEGARRA/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
The damage inside the monument was even worse.
The statue of the Marianne, a symbol of French freedom and Resistance was reportedly hacked at and vandalized by the gilets jaunes who entered the Arc de Triomphe monument during clashes with riot police on Saturday night.
According to Europe 1, government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux had earlier volunteered that the government could impose a state of emergency on Sunday.
By the time Macron landed in Charles de Gaulle Aeroport, more than 400 people had been taken into custody.
It is thought the cost of the rioting, the worst in Paris since 1968, may already be in the hundreds of millions of euros.
The damage to the French state is almost certainly worse.
Macron has found himself increasingly isolated at home, tied up with world events and negligent, even arrogant in his dismissal of the issues that confront people everyday in France.
In an interview with the Washington Post on Friday, a Yves Rollet from Bsancon called Macron “President of the Rich.”
Unemployment remains high, most notably among the young who face more than 20% unemployment in many regional areas of France.
And France is a nation divided. Not just by race, but by class and by generation. Some, like the Gilet Jaune, feel they have nothing mush to lose.
A dozen cars were set on fire, buildings were torched, tear gas was fired and water cannons were deployed in the French capital on Saturday.
The situation escalated quickly with some of the 1,500 protesters ripping cobblestones off the paved road to throw at police officers. Police wrestled control of the area shortly after lunchtime but groups of men then roamed central Paris, leaving wrecked cars and destruction behind them, Euro News reported.
Should a state of emergency be declared, it would be the first time since the 2015 terror attacks, according to Euro News.
Yellow vest protesters clash with riot police as part of demonstration against rising fuel taxes near Arc de Triomphe de l’Etoile in Paris, France on December 01, 2018. ELYXANDRO CEGARRA/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
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