Yellow vest protest in Paris sees police detain hundreds

Police in Paris have fired rubber bullets and tear gas as a fourth weekend of anti-government protests across France turned violent.

Smoke of tear gas is seen as protestors, including some wearing a yellow vest (gilet jaune), gather on Place de la Republique (Republic's Square) in Paris

Smoke of tear gas is seen as protestors, including some wearing a yellow vest (gilet jaune), gather on Place de la Republique (Republic’s Square) in Paris
Photo: AFP

The French interior ministry said 118 people had been injured in the protests in several cities, including 17 law enforcement officers.

More than 500 people have been taken into custody.

The “yellow vest” movement opposed fuel tax rises but ministers say it has been hijacked by “ultra-violent” protesters.

An estimated 125,000 demonstrators gathered across the country during the day, with 10,000 of them in the capital, where the scenes were the most destructive.

In a television address on Saturday evening, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said the “casseurs” (troublemakers) were still at work.

He called for more communication between the government and protesters to resolve the conflict. “The dialogue has begun,” he said. “It is now necessary to rebuild the national unity.”

What is happening this weekend?

Apart from Paris, there were demonstrations in several other cities on Saturday including Lyon, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Marseille and Grenoble.

Protests against climate change have also been held place in Paris and other cities.

There have been a number of confrontations in the capital. Some protesters have been seen smashing shop fronts, setting fire to cars and painting walls with graffiti.

Video footage showed one demonstrator being hit in the torso with a rubber bullet while standing in front of a line of police with his hands up. At least three members of the press were also hit.

Protestors wearing a yellow vest (gilet jaune) stand next to a burning barricade, during a demonstration against rising costs of living they blame on high taxes in Toulouse, southern France

Protestors wearing a yellow vest (gilet jaune) stand next to a burning barricade, during a demonstration against rising costs of living they blame on high taxes in Toulouse, southern France
Photo: AFP

Water cannon were deployed on a street east of the city centre.

As night fell, protesters converged on Place de la République, and a heavy police presence remained on the Champs-Elysées.

Nearly 90,000 officers were deployed countrywide in anticipation of clashes, including 8,000 in Paris where 12 armoured vehicles were also utilised.

Mr Philippe praised the interior ministry and police for putting together a plan to ensure the damage was not as bad as the previous weekend.

"Yellow vest" (gilet jaune) protestors march in the streets of Tours as they take part in a demonstration to protest against the rising costs of living

“Yellow vest” (gilet jaune) protestors march in the streets of Tours as they take part in a demonstration to protest against the rising costs of living
Photo: AFP

Last week, hundreds of people were arrested and 162 were injured in violence in Paris – some of the worst street clashes in the French capital for decades.

This weekend, six matches in the top tier of France’s football league were postponed. The Louvre, Musée d’Orsay and other sites were also closed all day in Paris.

– BBC