More than 350 people were arrested in demonstrations on Saturday in Paris. The protests began on November 17 over an…
Thibault Camus / AP
France president Emmanuel Macron is chairman of an urgent security meeting in Paris to discuss the riots that have spread throughout the country and can explain an emergency to contain unrest.
The “Yellow West” demonstrations were called for the roads protected by the protesters, began last month over an increase in gas prices and have evolved into protests over the tall settlements in France.
NPR’s Eleanor Beardsley reports from Paris that more than 350 people were arrested in demonstrations in the city on Saturday, and “the police shot 10,000 tear gas volumes and used 134,000 liters of water against the protesters.”
Earlier on Sunday, Macron visited the Arc of Triumph to investigate the damage there.
The protests began on November 17th th when hundreds of thousands of people throughout France proved to protest against fuel taxes introduced by Macron as part of a plan to reduce energy consumption and tackle climate change. According to the demonstrators in the New York Times demonstrate the French government “talking about the end of the world while talking at the end of the month.”
At least three people have died in the protests since they began, all in traffic accidents caused by blockades made by yellow westerners.
BBC reports: “This is 50 percent of the French population, we do not look so much. These are not the ones who enjoy the big cities. These are not the poor people in the high immigration areas. Here are the other 50 percent living in small towns around the country. People who feel that they are completely forgotten economically, cultural, politically. “
The protests have no obvious leaders, making it difficult for the French government to negotiate or meet them.
“It’s clear that the government does not really know how to respond,” Beardsley reports. “This kind of motion has never happened before. Usually you have unions that you can handle or managers you can handle.” The current protests, says Beardsley, are a fluid and ever-changing movement without clear leaders.
Extremists left and right, anarchists and vandals have joined the demonstrations. In Paris, the protesters sprayed the Arc de Triomphe with graffiti, twisted cars and put them on fire and crushed shop halls.
Macron said on Saturday: “What happened today in Paris has nothing to do with the peaceful expression of legitimate anger. Nothing motivates to attack security forces, vandalizing companies, either private or public, or that passers-by or journalists are threatened or the Arc de Triomphe defaced . “
The French government says it is considering all options to control the protests and stop the violence.