Citizens of the republic are demanding to abandon the idea of raising taxes. This is the third weekend when protests are held in Paris.
Police used tear gas and water cannons to try to push back protesters gathered around the Arc de Triomphe. Some demonstrators threw large stones in response.
French Deputy Interior Minister Laurent Núñez said that about 3,000 protesters gathered in the streets near the Champs Elysees, outside the perimeter, guarded by police. Paris police reported that 81 people were arrested at noon. Núñez also said that about 5,000 police officers were deployed in the city to curb protests. A week ago, on the Champs Elysées, over 8 thousand people took part in a demonstration that grew into unrest.
In addition to the radically minded residents of the city, several hundred peaceful protesters from the “yellow vests” movement passed through police checkpoints near the Champs Elysees. They walked along the famous avenue with a big banner “Macron, stop thinking of us as stupid people.” The access to the Champs Elysées was closed to cars, and the pedestrian paths were under the control of the police, which inspected personal belongings and documents. Clashes in Paris contrasted with protests in other French regions, where demonstrations were more peaceful.
The protests, which began with a demonstration of motorists against raising the tax on fuel, now include a wide range of requirements related to the high cost of living in the country. Requirements have expanded to higher pensions, an increase in the minimum wage, the abolition of other taxes, the restoration of wealth taxes, and even a reduction in the salaries of politicians. Protesters demand the replacement of Macron and the National Assembly by the “People’s Assembly”. Some political parties tried to show their support for the movement, but the leaders rejected any political link with the current parties.
At the scheduled meeting on Friday between representatives of the movement and French Prime Minister Edouard-Charles Philippe, only two representatives came. One of them very soon left the meeting room, stating that his request that the meeting be broadcast live was rejected.
The French president, Emmanuel Macron, is now at the G-20 convention in Buenos Aires. He promised to respond to the requests of the protesters and take a number of decisions in the field of socio-economic policy, but he did not intend to completely change his political course. According to Reuters, the support of the president is about 20%.