Violent clashes between police and protesters are ongoing in the French capital, with demonstrators angry about rising fuel taxes and President Emmanuel Macron’s government.
Protesters burned large plywood sheets and other material in the middle of several streets in central Paris, sending up large columns of smoke. Demonstrators also hurled rocks and other projectiles at police, who responded by firing tear gas and bursts from water cannons.
Police tried to push back the protesters, at times beating back demonstrators with baton strikes and dragging them away.
French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner has accused the far right of encouraging acts of violence and clashes with police in Paris.
Marine Le Pen, the head of the National Assembly party, called on protesters to head to the Champs-Elysees earlier this week despite authorities banning all demonstrations on the avenue.
Castaner’s comments came as French police fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse angry demonstrators in Paris, as protests and road blockades, led by drivers opposing rising fuel taxes and Emmanuel Macron’s presidency, swept the nation.
Castaner said that 5,000 protesters flooded the Champs-Elysees alone, with 23,000 protesters in total nationwide.
But Castaner told journalists in Paris that the protest was “weakening,”
French police have fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse demonstrators in Paris, as thousands gathered in the capital and staged road blockades across the nation to vent anger against rising fuel taxes and Emmanuel Macron’s presidency.
Thousands of police have been deployed nationwide to contain the demonstrations, including a tense protest at the foot of the Champs-Elysees where protesters upturned a large vehicle. Six people have been arrested.
France is deploying thousands of police to try to contain nationwide protests and road blockades by drivers angry over rising fuel taxes and Emmanuel Macron’s presidency.
Tensions have been mounting around the grassroots movement that drew more than a quarter million people a week ago to protests across France, from Provence to Normandy and in between.
A new wave of protests is planned Saturday, including beneath the Eiffel Tower. Interior Minister Christophe Castaner called for calm and promised tough police measures against unruly crowds.
Paris alone is deploying some 3,000 security forces, notably around tourist-frequented areas like the Champs-Elysees, after an unauthorized attempt last week to march on the presidential palace.
Two people have been killed and hundreds injured in the week of protests.