French police break up ‘yellow vest’ and ‘black bloc’ protests in Paris

French police break up ‘yellow vest’ and ‘black bloc’ protests in Paris
French police break up 'yellow vest' and 'black bloc' protests in Paris

French police fired tear gas and made over a hundred arrests in Paris on Saturday as they dispersed "yellow vest" protesters attempting unauthorised rallies and black-masked demonstrators who disrupted a climate march.

Police had made 137arrests in Paris by mid-afternoon and had pushed back around one hundredprotesters who gathered on the Champs-Elysees shopping avenue, the Paris policeprefecture said.

The governmentdeployed a massive police presence as it feared yellow-vest supporters andother activists, including "black bloc" anarchists, would takeadvantage of authorised protests over climate change and pension reform.

Some 7,500 policewere mobilised, several districts including the Champs-Elysees were madeout-of-bounds for protests, and over 30 metro stations closed.

The climate rallysaw sporadic confrontations between police and masked demonstrators who hadinfiltrated the march.

Groups wearingblack clothing associated with the so-called black bloc anarchist movementformed barricades, set fire to bins and a motorbike, and threw paint over thefront of a bank.

Similar skirmishesoccurred later in the march with the prefecture again attributing violence toblack blocs. Police responded with tear gas.

The violence tarnished an otherwise peaceful march that brought thousands of people, including some yellow vests, onto the streets, a day after marches in Paris and other cities worldwide to demand government action against climate change.

Demonstratorscarried slogans like "End oil now" and "End of the world"while some held carnival effigies, including one of President Emmanuel Macronwearing a crown marked "King of bla-bla".

The yellow vests,named after motorists' high-visibility jackets, were holding a 45th consecutiveSaturday of action. The movement emerged late last year, triggered by fuel taxrises and swelling into a revolt against Macron's style of government.

Some of their protestshave been marked by rioting, partly blamed on black blocs.

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