Paris sees worst riot in decade over taxes, living costs

  • A man rides his bicycle past by charred cars, near the Arc de Triomphe, in Paris, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018. A protest against rising taxes and the high cost of living turned into a riot in the French capital Saturday, as activists caused widespread damage and tagged the Arc de Triomphe with multi-colored graffiti during clashes with police. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu) Kamil Zihnioglu

  • A man takes a snapshot of charred cars the day after a demonstration, near the Arc de Triomphe, in Paris, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018. A protest against rising taxes and the high cost of living turned into a riot in the French capital, as activists torched cars, smashed windows, looted stores and tagged the Arc de Triomphe with multi-colored graffiti. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus) Thibault Camus

  • A woman looks at her charred car the day after a demonstration, near the Arc de Triomphe, in Paris, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018. A protest against rising taxes and the high cost of living turned into a riot in the French capital, as activists torched cars, smashed windows, looted stores and tagged the Arc de Triomphe with multi-colored graffiti. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus) Thibault Camus

  • A hooded demonstrator throws an item as a car buns during a demonstration Saturday, Dec.1, 2018 in Paris. Protesters angry about rising taxes clashed with French police for a third straight weekend and over 100 were arrested after pockets of demonstrators built barricades in the middle of streets in central Paris, lit fires and threw rocks at officers Saturday. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus) Thibault Camus

  • A hooded demonstrator throws an large wooden piece onto a fire during a demonstration Saturday, Dec.1, 2018 in Paris. Protesters angry about rising taxes clashed with French police for a third straight weekend and over 100 were arrested after pockets of demonstrators built barricades in the middle of streets in central Paris, lit fires and threw rocks at officers Saturday. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus) Thibault Camus

  • A woman walks past graffiti reading "Paris is ours", near the Arc de Triomphe, in Paris, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018. A protest against rising taxes and the high cost of living turned into a riot in the French capital Saturday, as activists caused widespread damage and tagged the Arc de Triomphe with multi-colored graffiti during clashes with police. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu) Kamil Zihnioglu

  • France's President Emmanuel Macron shakes hand with a firefighter as he visits firefighters and riot police officers the day after a demonstration, in Paris, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018. A protest against rising taxes and the high cost of living turned into a riot in the French capital, as activists torched cars, smashed windows, looted stores and tagged the Arc de Triomphe with multi-colored graffiti. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus) Thibault Camus

  • A man rides his bicycle past by a graffiti reading "Macron equal to Louis 16" to reference to the king of France during French Revolution in 1789 on the Paris Garnier Opera house in Paris, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018. A protest against rising taxes and the high cost of living turned into a riot in the French capital Saturday, as activists caused widespread damage and tagged the Arc de Triomphe with multi-colored graffiti during clashes with police. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu) Kamil Zihnioglu

  • Stones and tear gas canisters are seen, near the Arc de Triomphe, in Paris, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018. A protest against rising taxes and the high cost of living turned into a riot in the French capital Saturday, as activists caused widespread damage and tagged the Arc de Triomphe with multi-colored graffiti during clashes with police. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu) Kamil Zihnioglu

  • A broken sculpture of Marianne, symbol of the French Repupblic, appears damaged in the gallery inside the Arc de Triomphe during a demonstration Saturday, Dec.1, 2018 in Paris. A French protest against rising taxes and the high cost of living turned into a riot Saturday in Paris as police fired tear gas and water cannon in street battles with activists wearing the fluorescent yellow vests of a new movement. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu) Kamil Zihnioglu

  • Demonstrator push charred car during a demonstration Saturday, Dec.1, 2018 in Paris. Protesters angry about rising taxes clashed with French police for a third straight weekend and over 100 were arrested after pockets of demonstrators built barricades in the middle of streets in central Paris, lit fires and threw rocks at officers Saturday. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus) Thibault Camus

  • Avenues leading to the Arc de Triomphe are pictured from the top of the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs-Elysees avenue during a demonstration Saturday, Dec.1, 2018 in Paris. A French protest against rising taxes and the high cost of living turned into a riot Saturday in Paris as police fired tear gas and water cannon in street battles with activists wearing the fluorescent yellow vests of a new movement. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu) Kamil Zihnioglu

  • A demonstrator watches a burning car near the Champs-Elysees avenue during a demonstration Saturday, Dec.1, 2018 in Paris. French authorities have deployed thousands of police on Paris' Champs-Elysees avenue to try to contain protests by people angry over rising taxes and Emmanuel Macron's presidency. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu) Kamil Zihnioglu

  • A demonstrator leaves as water cannons evacuate the Place de l'Etoile, near the Arc de Triomphe, Saturday, Dec.1, 2018 in Paris. A French protest against rising taxes and the high cost of living turned into a riot Saturday in Paris as police fired tear gas and water cannon in street battles with activists wearing the fluorescent yellow vests of a new movement. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu) Kamil Zihnioglu

  • Hooded demonstrators smash a car during a demonstration Saturday, Dec.1, 2018 in Paris. Protesters angry about rising taxes clashed with French police for a third straight weekend and over 100 were arrested after pockets of demonstrators built barricades in the middle of streets in central Paris, lit fires and threw rocks at officers Saturday. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus) Thibault Camus

  • Demonstrators wearing yellow jackets face water cannons near the Champs-Elysees avenue during a demonstration Saturday in Paris. AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu

  • France's President Emmanuel Macron, centre left, France's Interior Minister Christophe Castaner, center, Secretary of State to the Interior Minister Laurent Nunez, left, and Paris police Prefect Michel Delpuech, right, arrive to visit firefighters and riot police officers the day after a demonstration, in Paris, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018. A protest against rising taxes and the high cost of living turned into a riot in the French capital, as activists torched cars, smashed windows, looted... Thibault Camus

  • France's President Emmanuel Macron, center, leaves the Arc de Triomphe the day after a demonstration, in Paris, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018. A protest against rising taxes and the high cost of living turned into a riot in the French capital, as activists torched cars, smashed windows, looted stores and tagged the Arc de Triomphe with multi-colored graffiti. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus) Thibault Camus

  • A supporter of Marseille waves a flag representing a giant yellow jacket, in solidarity with the movement of the demonstrators, called yellow jackets, who protest against the rising of the fuel taxes, during the League One soccer match between Marseille and Reims at the Velodrome stadium, in Marseille, southern France, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018. (AP Photo/Claude Paris) Claude Paris

  • A woman looks to a burned out vehicle, near the Arc de Triomphe, in Paris, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018. A protest against rising taxes and the high cost of living turned into a riot in the French capital Saturday, as activists caused widespread damage and tagged the Arc de Triomphe with multi-colored graffiti during clashes with police. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu) Kamil Zihnioglu

  • A woman takes a pictures of charred motorcycles as she is seen in a mirror, near the Arc de Triomphe, in Paris, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018. A protest against rising taxes and the high cost of living turned into a riot in the French capital Saturday, as activists caused widespread damage and tagged the Arc de Triomphe with multi-colored graffiti during clashes with police. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu) Kamil Zihnioglu

  • A statue with a graffiti reading "Popular Insurrection" is seen as pigeons fly past by, near the Arc de Triomphe, in Paris, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018. A protest against rising taxes and the high cost of living turned into a riot in the French capital Saturday, as activists caused widespread damage and tagged the Arc de Triomphe with multi-colored graffiti during clashes with police. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu) Kamil Zihnioglu

  • Workers clean up the street as they remove burned motorcycles, near the Arc de Triomphe, in Paris, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018. A protest against rising taxes and the high cost of living turned into a riot in the French capital Saturday, as activists caused widespread damage and tagged the Arc de Triomphe with multi-colored graffiti during clashes with police. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu) Kamil Zihnioglu

  • A woman passes a smashed window displaying a yellow vest, showing support for protesters and for protesters not to attack the building, near the Arc de Triomphe, in Paris, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018. A protest against rising taxes and the high cost of living turned into a riot in the French capital Saturday, as activists caused widespread damage and tagged the Arc de Triomphe with multi-colored graffiti during clashes with police. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu) Kamil Zihnioglu

  • A woman walks by a graffiti on a wine shop reading 'We want a president for the poor', near the Arc de Triomphe, in Paris, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018. A protest against rising taxes and the high cost of living turned into a riot in the French capital Saturday, as activists caused widespread damage and tagged the Arc de Triomphe with multi-colored graffiti during clashes with police. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu) Kamil Zihnioglu

Associated Press
Published: 12/2/2018 11:04:50 PM

PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron asked for an evaluation of possible protest security measures Sunday, a day after a Paris demonstration against increased taxes and living costs devolved into France’s worst urban riot in a decade.

Hours after he flew back to the French capital from the G-20 summit in Argentina, Macron held an emergency meeting at the Elysee presidential palace while crews worked to remove charred cars, broken glass and graffiti from the famed Champs-Elysees Avenue and other top Paris sites.

Paris police said 133 people were injured, including 23 police officers, as crowds trashed the streets of the capital Saturday. Officers fired tear gas and used water cannon to tamp down the violence as protesters torched cars, smashed windows, looted stores and tagged the Arc de Triomphe with spray paint.

Paris police Prefect Michel Delpuech said some officers described encountering “unprecedented” violence, including protesters using hammers, gardening tools, bolts, aerosol cans as well as rocks in physical confrontations.

Some radical far-right and far-left activists were involved in the riot, as well as a “great number” of protesters wearing yellow jackets, Delpuech said. The fluorescent jackets, which French motorists are required to have in their cars for emergencies, are an emblem of a grassroots citizens’ movement protesting fuel taxes.

Fires were started at six buildings and more than 130 makeshift barricades and 112 vehicles were torched, Delpuech said.

Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz said 378 people remained in police custody as of Sunday evening, 33 of them minors.

Earlier Sunday, Macron visited the Arc de Triomphe, which had damaged statues as well as graffiti. One slogan on the famed war memorial read: “Yellow jackets will triumph.” He then headed to a nearby avenue where activists battled police on Saturday to meet with firefighters, police officers and restaurant owners.

At the security meeting, the French leader asked his interior minister to consider making “adaptations” to security procedures to try to contain ongoing protests sparked by rising fuel taxes, Macron’s office said in a statement.

Macron also asked Prime Minister Edouard Philippe to meet with the heads of France’s major political parties and representatives from the grassroots movement behind the protests.

Plans for an earlier meeting between the prime minister and representatives of the movement collapsed last week after a request to broadcast the talks live was rejected.

It was the third straight weekend of clashes in Paris involving activists dressed in the yellow vests of the new protest movement. The grassroots protests began Nov. 17 with motorists upset over a fuel tax hike, but have grown to encompass a range of demands and complaints that Macron’s government does not care about the problems of ordinary people.

The scene in Paris contrasted sharply with protests elsewhere in France that were mostly peaceful.

“It’s difficult to reach the end of the month. People work and pay a lot of taxes and we are fed up,” said Rabah Mendez, a protester who marched peacefully Saturday in Paris.

Speaking in Buenos Aires before he flew home to Paris, Macron said he welcomed the views of protesters but vowed that those who participated in wreaking havoc would be held responsible for their behavior.

“(Violence) has nothing to do with the peaceful expression of a legitimate anger” and “no cause justifies” attacks on police or pillaging stores and burning buildings, Macron said.




Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

115 Conz Street
Northampton, MA 01061
413-584-5000

 

© 2018 Daily Hampshire Gazette