Police in Paris used teargas and water cannons on around 5,000 people who had gathered on Saturday to protest against rising fuel prices and President Emmanuel Macron. Dozens of people were arrested after the protests at the Champs-Elysees turned violent, reported BBC. Thousands of police officers were deployed to manage the “gilets jaunes” (yellow vests) movement – named after the high-visibility vests that all French motorists have to keep in their cars.
Macron, in a strong tweet, condemned the protests. “Shame on those who tried to attack them [police forces],” he said. Two officers and six people were injured. There were claims that the far right infiltrated the march, reported CNN.
“The right to protest cannot go beyond the respect of the fundamental law of our country,” CNN quoted Interior Minister Christophe Castaner as saying. “Today, the far right has mobilised. The security forces perfectly anticipated this situation.”
Macron has come under fire for increasing fuel taxes and defending them as being necessary so France can become less dependent on fossil fuels. A large section of the public has accused him of ignoring the needs of ordinary people. Protests have been on for more than a week. Several people have been injured and two people have died.
According to French newspaper Le Figaro, 77% of the country’s public support the protests.