The French police on Saturday detained 227 yellow vest protestors, who are protesting against President Emmanuel Macron’s policies, reports said. The police also fired tear gas shells and stun grenades to disperse the demonstrators.
The protestors were out on the streets of Paris to voice their dissent against the administration, and have accused Macron of neglecting the poor. Several protestors set garbage bins and vehicles on fire across the city.
The demonstration was the first Yellow Vest protest after a fire damaged the iconic Notre-Dame cathedral last week.
The “gilet jaunes”, or “yellow vest” protests, named after the fluorescent jackets stored in all vehicles in France, began on November 17 against rising fuel taxes and the high cost of living. The protests escalated the following month when several people in fluorescent yellow jackets and masked faces rioted on the streets of Paris, setting dozens of vehicles and buildings on fire.
Earlier this month, Emmanuel Macron signed a law that provides security personnel with increased powers, which his critics allege violate civil liberties. One of the law’s provisions banned protestors from covering their faces. France’s Constitutional Council, however, vetoed it. The law also allows the administration to ban particular individuals “posing a particularly serious threat to public order” from participating in the protest.
French Interior Minister Cristophe Castana said he had received intelligence inputs about the protests on Saturday, Reuters reported. “The rioters will be back tomorrow,” Castaner told reporters. “Their proclaimed aim: a repeat of March 16. The rioters have visibly not been moved by what happened at Notre-Dame.”
Macron was scheduled to announce policies meant to pacify protestors the day before the Notre-Dame blaze. However, the fire at the cathedral forced him to postpone his speech indefinitely.