Clashes of ‘Yellow Vests’ with Police in Paris Mar France’s Bastille Day Celebration
France’s national holiday did not go without violent clashes as Yellow Vest protesters tried to blockade the Champs Elysees boulevard.
Several hundred “Yellow Vest” movement protesters staged an improvised rally on the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris after the traditional military parade for Bastille Day, France’s national holiday, resulting in clashes with riot police.
The clashes in Paris occurred on Sunday, after President Emmanuel Macron had reviewed the Bastille Day military parade together with other European leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and all of them had left for an official state lunch at the Elysee Palace.
Paris authorities had banned Yellow Vest demonstrations near the Bastille Day parade.
However, several groups connected with the Yellow Vest movement had nonetheless called for rallying around the Champs Elysees on France’s national holiday.
Earlier a French police source and a court source said 152 people allegedly linked to the “Yellow Vests” had been detained near the Champs Elysees as they tried to stage a protest.
Yellow Vest rallies have recently gone down into the hundreds, after a high of 300,000 demonstrators back in November 2018 when the movement emerged during protests against fuel price hikes before becoming an all-out social protest against Macron’s government.
After the Champs Elysees Boulevard was reopened for traffic on Sunday, a few hundred Yellow Vests, some of them hooded, tried to blockade it, Reuters reported.
They attempted to build metal barricades using trash cans and other debris, leading riot police to intervene immediately in order to disperse them, including with tear gas.
The protesters reacted by hurling objects at the police and setting trash cans on fire, while several loud bangs were also heard.
Although the French riot police managed to drive the protesters off the Champs Elysees, some of them managed to quickly regroup and build new barricades in adjacent streets, which led to more tear gas use by the security forces.
The Police Prefecture said on Twitter it had ordered the protesters to leave the area, or be forcibly removed.
Paris Police chief Didier Lallement told journalists during a Sunday evening patrol of the boulevard that order had been restored.
He said some 200 rioters had tried to occupy the Champs Elysees but had been pushed out.
The French authorities were also bracing for soccer fans to flood the avenue after Algeria’s African Cup of Nations semi-final match against Nigeria.
On Thursday, Algerian fans looted shops there after Algeria beat Ivory Coast in the quarter-final.
(Banner image: TV grab from EuroNews)