Farage on Paris Riots, 'Disconnected' Macron: 'Goodness Knows Where This Ends'

Daniel Fowler
December 8, 2018

Armoured cars were deployed on the Champs-Elysées and more than 8,000 police were out on the streets of Paris today as the French government mounted a massive security operation in response to a fourth Saturday of protests by the gilets jaunes.

President Emmanuel Macron's government has warned that the protests will be hijacked by "radicalised and rebellious" crowds and become the most risky yet, after three weeks of demonstrations.

The French capital experienced its worst riots in decades last weekend, in scenes that shook the country and plunged President Emmanuel Macron's government into its deepest crisis so far.

"At the national level, including Paris, we're at more than 700 detained with participation in the movement at 31,000 nationwide including 8,000 in Paris", he told France 2 television.

The French yellow vest protest movement is crossing borders, with demonstrations planned in neighbouring Belgium and in the Netherlands.

"We can not take the risk when we know the threat", Riester told RTL.

Shops and tourist destinations, including the Eiffel Tower, were closed and soccer matches were canceled as authorities looked to maintain order. He was among 18 people taken into police custody.

The students were detained by police in the Paris suburb of Mantes-la-Jolie, in unrest that has spread to dozens of schools during three weeks of anti-government demonstrations.

Calls on social media for protesters to attack the police or march on the presidential palace have especially rattled the authorities. Since then, the protests have swelled in size and taken on the cost of living in France, high taxes in general and French President Emmanuel Macron's policies.

Nigel Farage said the violent protests that have broken out across France are a sign of the growing disconnect between the country's citizens and its elites.

President Trump meanwhile twisted the knife, tweeting Saturday morning: "The Paris Agreement isn't working out so well for Paris".

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Many members of the protest movement are calling for calm, and some struck a conciliatory tone after meeting the prime minister on Friday night in a last-minute bid to cool tempers, but that did not deter many people from trying to march on the presidential palace on Saturday.

Some could be held in the city centre on what is a major Christmas shopping weekend.

UPDATE: 10:10 am EST: French newspaper Le Figaro reports that a journalist has been wounded by a Yellow Vest protestor and has claimed that violence toward journalists by the protestors is much more intense than at previous weeks events.

He asked for peaceful protestors to not become mixed up with "hooligans".

The movement has no clear leaders, and past protests have attracted extremists who hurled projectiles at police.

"We are not here to destroy Paris, we are here to tell Macron we are f-king fed up", said one protester before the clashes with the police began, adding that the people are protesting ever-increasing taxes on the working class.

The yellow vests include people with views that range from the far right to the far left.

The protests, named after the high-visibility safety jackets French motorists have to keep in their cars, erupted in November over the squeeze on household budgets caused by fuel taxes.

The protesters began blocking roads, fuel depots and shopping centres around France on November 17 over soaring petrol prices that have hit people in the provinces who get around by vehicle.

That decision is deeply unpopular with protesters and together with a series of comments, viewed as insensitive to ordinary workers, has led critics to dub Mr Macron a "president of the rich".

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