France ‘yellow vest’ protesters defy government to gather
“Yellow vest” protesters have gathered in Paris and other cities for a fifth consecutive Saturday of demonstrations. About 69,000 police have been mobilized across France to prevent the last week of violence. The movement, initially against a rise in fuel taxes, now addresses other issues, including education reforms. Protesters defied a government call to suspend the action following Tuesday’s attack on Strasbourg’s Christmas market where a gunman killed four people.
How is this Saturday shaping up?
Overall, so far some 33,500 have gone across the country, police say. It includes Bordeaux, Marseille, Lyon, Nantes, Toulouse and others. Fewer than 3,000 people have gone in Paris so far this week, officials say. Last week, there were about 8,000. Police have stopped and questioned 120 people in the capital, a fifth of a week ago. Some shops and department stores are closed for the day. Scuffles broke out in the center of Paris on Saturday and police fired tear gas to a crowd trying to make their way through police lines. “Last time, we were here for taxes,” said 28-year-old Jeremy, the AFP news agency. “This is for the institutions – we want more direct democracy,” he added, adding that people need to “shout to make themselves heard”. Some museums are closed, but both the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower are open.