Paris On Fire As Yellow Vest Protesters Ignite ‘Day Of Rage’

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Violence and protests returned to the streets of Paris today (March 16) as gilets jaunes (yellow vests) called for French President Emmanuel Macron to resign.

The protests, which initially were just over fuel tax rises, started four months ago, with yellow vests looting shops, vandalising streets and lighting fires every Saturday.

Although the protests had quietened down recently with dwindling numbers taking part, today there was a surge as the yellow vest movement organised a so-called ‘Day of Rage’.

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Now much more about revolting against perceived elitism than fuel tax, passionate protesters set fire to a bank branch and vandalised an upscale restaurant.

As reported by the BBC, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner has said more than 1,400 police officers attended the scenes, being hit with cobblestones at the Arc de Triomphe war memorial.

He added more than 80 protesters had been arrested by mid-afternoon.

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Today’s protests had also been organised by climate change activists. Both they and the yellow vests have said the protests will continue until more concessions are made.

So far President Macron, leader of the Republic On The Move party, has scrapped tax on bonuses, climbed down on imposing green surcharges, and increased the national minimum wage by seven per cent.

This has so far failed to quell the discontent though, with many politicians criticising the violence of the protests.

Castaner took to Twitter earlier today to slam the protesters, calling their actions unacceptable.

He wrote (translated by Google):

No doubt allowed: they call for violence and are there to sow chaos in Paris.

Enormous and masked professionals in the mess and disorder infiltrated the processions.

My set @prefpolice: respond with the utmost firmness these unacceptable attacks.

He later added:

The Paris firefighters and our police forces have just evacuated all the inhabitants of a building, deliberately set on fire. The fire is under control. The individuals who committed this act are neither protesters nor thugs: they are murderers.

French Prime Minister Eduoard Philippe also said the violence was unjustified, tweeting:

Like a huge majority of French people, I feel very angry today. Today’s acts are not the work of protesters, but looters, arsonists and criminals. No cause justifies this violence.

I came to express my great support to the police and firefighters who helped avoid the worst this morning.

While some have criticised, many have supported the yellow vests and protesters.

Judging from today’s events, it doesn’t look like the protests will be stopping anytime soon.

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