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Protest against the Yellow Vest: France's Édouard Philippe seeks the "unity" after riots



  French officers arrest a demonstrator during a

image copyright
Reuters

Caption

On December 8, many more people were arrested than on past weekends

French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe has promised to "restore national unity" after violence erupted on a fourth protest weekend in a row.

On Saturday, the last day of the "Yellow Vest", police demonstrated tear gas and rubber bullets against fuel tax hikes and high living expenses.

Nearly 1

,000 people were detained, but the violence was not at the level of a week before.

The talks with peaceful demonstrators "must continue," said Philippe. He added, "No tax should jeopardize our national unity, and we need to rebuild that national unity through dialogue, work, and gathering."

He said President Emmanuel Macron, who wants to withdraw many protesters. would soon "take measures to promote this dialogue".

French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner praised the police, which came into force because they had withheld much of the unrest.

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Media Signature Protesters stormed tear gas

In a tweet on Saturday Mr. Macron thanked the security forces for their "Courage and Exceptional Professionalism" .

What happened on Saturday?

On Saturday, an estimated 125,000 people took part in country marches, the Interior Ministry said.

Nearly 90,000 officers had been deployed, including 8,000 in Paris, where 12 armored vehicles were also needed.

Around 10,000 people demonstrated in the capital where the scenes were most destructive. Windows were smashed, cars burned and shops plundered.

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Reuters

Video showed protesters hit by rubber bullets – also in the face. At least three members of the press were among those affected.

Seventeen police officers were also injured, Castaner said.

Protest Timeline

  • 17. November: 282,000 demonstrators – one dead, 409 injured – 73 in custody
  • 24. November: 166,000 demonstrators – 84 wounded – 307 in prison
  • 1. December: 136,000 protesters – 263 injured – 630 in custody
  • 8. December: 125,000 demonstrators – 118 injured – 974 in custody

What's next for Macron?

By Hugh Schofield BBC News, Paris

The French government is relieved that their worst allegations of the protests have not occurred.

Certainly there were violent acts of violence in Paris, but they were not on the same scale as last week.

The new tactic of the police – record numbers of deployed officers quickly filling the ground and not hesitating to make arrests – paid off. Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said the escalation of violence had been stopped.

It is a relief for President Macron – but not much else. He needs to know that the moment is thrown away if he does not move quickly now with ideas that satisfy the more mediocre Yellow West.

The time is for dialogue, the government says, and the president will turn to the nation earlier this week.

The question is whether to give the demonstrators what they want, which is very simple: more money in their pockets. Does he think France can afford it economically?

Where are we with the yellow vest movement?

The demonstrators of the "Gilets Jaunes" are so named because they wear the yellow clothes and go out on the street. To be carried in every vehicle under French law.

In recent weeks, the social media movement has evolved from a protest about fuel prices to a leadership-less spectrum of stakeholders and different demands.

Its core objective: To emphasize economic frustration and political distrust of poorer working families, support remains widespread.

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Media signature Gilets Jaunes: Nationalists infiltrate the "yellow west"?

A poll on Friday showed support for the protests, but still stood at 66%.

In the meantime, President Emmanuel Macron's ratings have fallen to 23% during the crisis, surveys show.

What did the government concede?

The government has stated that it is abolishing the unpopular fuel tax increases in its budget and freezing electricity and gas prices for 2019.

The problem is that protest has been raised on other issues

Granting concessions in some areas can not appease all demonstrators, some of whom have higher wages, lower taxes, better pensions, easier university requirements, and even the resignation of the president demand.

Some critics of Mr. Macron call him "the president of the rich".


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