France braced for 'day of rage' protests

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French CRS riot police apprehend a man in a street near Saint Lazare train stationduring a national day of protest by the "yellow vests" movement in Paris, France, December 8, 2018. On boulevard Poissonniere and boulevard Haussmann, some tried to erect barricades, using urban furniture and stones from the pavement, and defying police forces.

He said the protests had "created a monster" and vowed a zero-tolerance approach by police to violence. One was taken to hospital as dusk drew near in a city still in shock from last weekend's riots - the worst to hit the French capital in decades. Protesters threw flares and other projectiles, and were repeatedly pushed back by tear gas. It did not succeed, even though it was better prepared. "I hope he will speak to the people of France as a father, with love and respect and that he will take strong decisions", he said.

Police posted a video on Twitter of officers tackling a protester and confiscating his risky material, which appeared to be primarily a tennis racket.

The Eiffel Tower and scores of shops on the Champs-Elysees will be closed Saturday as a precaution, as will major museums including the Louvre. Subway stations in the city centre closed and the USA embassy warned citizens to avoid all protest areas.

By noon, more than 500 had been detained in Paris, according to a police spokeswoman.

A screengrab of the video

This week, after weeks of violence and hundreds of arrests, Emmanuel Macron scrapped the plans for tax hikes on diesel and gasoline which were aimed at cutting pollutions levels.

Despite heavy police presence, hundreds of yellow vests have already descended on Paris's Champs-Élysées Avenue, chanting and carrying slogans calling for Macron to resign.

"Now we await Mr Macron". "But I still want to be here to say 'Stop, that's enough, this has to stop"'.

An estimated 31,000 people have joined the anti-government protests across France, deputy interior minister Laurent Nunez said, adding that 700 people had been detained. He only gave his first name, saying he feared being tracked by security authorities.

Since becoming president in January 2017, he has pulled the United States out of the worldwide Paris Agreement on attempting to bring down global temperatures, and torn up a raft of environmental protection laws, saying the USA economy needs the boost.


While political parties have tried to show their support for the movement, the Yellow Vests have rejected any political link. One sign read "No climate justice without fiscal and social justice". This was his third weekend of protesting in Paris.

Some top French officials said that description was not far off. "He's done more in 18 months than the others in 30 years".

Neither country has proposed a hike in fuel tax - the catalyst for the massive and destructive demonstrations in France in recent weeks.

He said: "The Paris Agreement he fatally flawed because it raises the price of energy for responsible country while whitewashing some of the world polluters in the world".

Tear gas had dissipated and a standoff was over. Nationwide, 89,000 security forces fanned out to deter or confront troublemakers expected at multiple protests.


Protesters also blocked roads, traffic roundabouts and highway tollbooths elsewhere in France and offshoot movements emerged in Belgium and the Netherlands.

Tires were also set on fire, but with riot police outnumbering the demonstrators by about two to one, there were none of the violent scenes that grabbed global attention a week ago.

On Friday, workers across Paris lugged pieces of plywood and hammered boards over the windows of shops and businesses - making the plush Champs-Elysees neighborhood appear like it was bracing for a hurricane.


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