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French protesters riot in Paris, Macron is accused of "hot air"

PARIS (AP) – French demonstrations of the Yellow West spawned life-threatening fires, broke down luxury stores in Paris, and held demonstrations against President Emmanuel Macron with the police for the 18th weekend in a row. Large clouds of smoke rose above the riots on Paris's Champs Elysees Avenue, and a mother and child had just been rescued from a building fire.

Cobblestones flew into the air and smoke from tear gas mingled with clouds, sprayed by the police as tensions on the Champs-Elysees lasted for hours. At dusk, as the protesters dispersed, the famous avenue was a blackened expanse.

The resurgence of violence marks a turning point for a movement that has been seething over the past few weeks, and at the end of a two-month Macron reported a lengthy national debate stating that the protesters did not respond to their demands for economic justice.

The police seemed to be surprised by the speed and severity of Saturday's riots. The French riot police tried to stem the demonstrators with repeated bursts of tear gas and water cannons, with limited success.

An arson hit hit a bank near the Champs-Elysees on the ground floor of a seven-story residential building. A mother and her child had to be rescued just as the fire threatened to cover their floor, the Paris Fire Department said The Associated Press. Eleven people in the building, including two firefighters, suffered minor injuries.

A 43-year-old German factory worker who had identified himself only as Peter had traveled to Paris to show solidarity with demonstrators of the Yellow Vest. He stood in front of the burnt out bench on Saturday and said he agreed to the destruction. He called the banks "the biggest problem in the world".

The protest organizers had hoped on Saturday, the four-month anniversary of The Yellow Belt Movement, which began on November 1

7, and the end of the "Great Debate", which the French president had organized to cater for the concerns of the demonstrators declining living standards, stagnating wages and high unemployment.

They claimed Macron had failed at the goal.

"It was hot air, it was useless and has not achieved anything, we are here to show Macron that empty words are not enough," said Frank West protégé Frank Leblanc, 62, from Nantes. 19659002] "We mark the end of the great debate … Macron has not offered us any great solutions," said protesters Francine Sevigny from Lyon.

Others praised the violence that ripped through Paris.

"I" I am glad that there are the thugs, because without them our movement would not get your attention. We need violence so that we can be heard, "said Marie, a mother of two from Seine-et-Marne who would not give her last name.

The violence began a few minutes after the demonstrators gathered on Saturday as they threw smoke bombs and other items at the officers along the Champs Elysees – the scene of repeated riots – and rammed at the windows of a police car.

Simultaneous fires were also extinguished by two burning news kiosks, the black smoke in the air Several demonstrators posed in front of a charred kiosk for a photograph.

The demonstrators also turned against symbols of the luxury industry, smashed and plundered stores, including brands such as Hugo Boss and Lacoste, and sent broken window mannequins called Fouquet & #. 39; s, which is associated with politicians and celebrities, has been destroyed and set on fire. In front of the luxury boutique Kenzo a vehicle burned, one of the many fires on and around the Champs Elysees.

Interior Minister He Christophe Castaner, who had inspected the damage to the Champs-Elysees on Saturday night, said an estimated 10,000 yellow-vest protesters were in Paris, demonstrating another 4,500 in France. He also said that the crowd in Paris 1,500 "ultraviolet people who are there to smash things."

. The numbers pale alongside the 30,000 people who participated in a separate peaceful climate march in Paris at the same time Castaner.

And the number of Yellow Vest protesters is still lower than it was at the start of the movement as it pulled masses nationwide and respondents showed that the majority of French supported their cause. Since then, repeated riots by demonstrators and economic concessions from Macron have reduced public support for the yellow west.

The Paris police told the AP that on Saturday in Paris 192 people were arrested and 60 others were injured, including 18 police and police firefighters.

The Yellow Vest groups represented teachers, unemployed and unions. While the rioters attract the most attention on Saturday, most demonstrators in Paris remain peaceful.

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