The battle for Paris: Violence erupts in French capital as police clash with rioters leading to 60 arrests – as Yellow Vest demonstrations rage into FIFTH week

Saturday, December 15, 2018
By Paul Martin

Security forces in riot gear with armoured trucks were positioned around famous Champs-Elysees boulevard
Protesters are expected to again torch vehicles, destroy shops and vandalise buildings in protest of Macron
Shops were closed and boarded up in anticipation of the protests, with armoured vehicles parked close by

15 December 2018

Fighting erupted in central Paris today as thousands of anti-government protesters took to the streets of France for the fifth Saturday in a row.

Tear gas and baton charges were used by riot police around the capital’s famous Opera district on a so-called ‘Act V’ Day of Rage, and by midday more than 60 protesters were in custody.

Most were so-called Yellow Vest fuel price demonstrators, who are named after the high visibility jackets they wear.

They have been protesting since November 17 and, despite a range of concessions by President Emmanuel Macron including scrapping green taxes of diesel and petrol, continue to call for him to step down.

‘Macron Resign’, a crowd of around 1,500 chanted today in the streets around the 19th Century Opera Garnier, which is normally a huge draw for tourists.

Around 8,000 police officers have been deployed ahead of a fifth consecutive week of demonstrations.

‘The police are trying to funnel us into secure areas, but we’re ignoring them,’ said Philippe Berger, a 34-year-old Yellow Vest from Brittany.

‘We’ve come a long way, and want to demonstrate in our own way. The establishment has let us down, and needs a complete change. Macron has to go, and we won’t stop protesting until he does.’

As Mr Berger spoke, police fired gas canisters in to the air, filling streets with white smoke.

‘There have been 61 arrests so far, mainly of those carrying potential offensive weapons,’ a spokesman for the Paris prefecture said at 12 midday.

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