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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 April 2019

Clashes break out in latest French 'yellow vest' protests

Police fired tear gas on protesters in the French capital

Demonstrators face police officers during minor clashes with police in Paris, Saturday, March 23, 2019. The French government vowed to strengthen security as yellow vest protesters stage a 19th round of demonstrations, in an effort to avoid a repeat of last week's riots in Paris. AP
Demonstrators face police officers during minor clashes with police in Paris, Saturday, March 23, 2019. The French government vowed to strengthen security as yellow vest protesters stage a 19th round of demonstrations, in an effort to avoid a repeat of last week's riots in Paris. AP

Police and demonstrators clashed sporadically in Paris and other French cities on Saturday as "yellow vest" protests against President Emmanuel Macron's government took place for a 19th consecutive weekend.

The demonstration in the capital was largely peaceful for most of the day, but later in the afternoon police fired tear gas on protesters near boulevard de Strasbourg, close to the capital's Gare du Nord and Gare de L'Est railway stations.

Skirmishes also erupted in cities including Lille in northern France, and Toulouse and Montpellier in the south, but there were no immediate reports of injuries.

For the first time this Saturday, the government deployed "Operation Sentinelle" military units to back up police after shops on the capital's Champs Elysees avenue were looted and vandalised during last weekend's protests.

Protesters were banned from gathering on the Champs Elysees this Saturday, but demonstrators gathered in other parts of the capital. Earlier in the day, they marched from Denfert Rochereau in southern Paris up to the Sacre Coeur church in the north.

A yellow awning was briefly draped across the top of the Sacre Coeur, before being taken down by authorities.

The "yellow vests" protests, named after the high-visibility vests French drivers have to keep in their cars and worn by protesters, began in November after public anger against fuel tax rises.

The movement has morphed into a broader backlash against Mr Macron's government, despite it scrapping the fuel taxes, and it has often been marred by violent clashes and looting.

Updated: March 24, 2019 08:30 AM

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