French 'yellow vest' demonstrators hold 23rd week of protest action


The 'yellow vest' movement of anti-government, ant-elite protests over living standards for low- and middle-income earners held its 23rd day of nationwide demonstrations on Saturday, which passed off peacefully in many towns but was marked in Paris by violent clashes with police, while contested interior ministry estimates said fewer people took part than last weekend.

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A car, motorbikes and multiple barricades were ablaze in eastern Paris Saturday as a yellow vest protest degenerated into scattered violence. The smell of tear gas mixed with black smoke choked the air, reports CBS News

Paris firefighters battled multiple small but impressive fires around the Place de la République. Reporters saw a car and motorbikes on fire and multiple volleys of tear gas and dispersion grenades, as riot police worked to control the crowd. Several protesters also set flares.

Saturday's yellow vest actions overall, however, have been peaceful. 

The Paris police headquarters said authorities detained 126 people by early afternoon and carried out spot checks of more than 11,000 people trying to enter the capital for Saturday's protests. 

The protesters are angry at high taxes and economic injustice. Many protesters were deeply saddened by the recent fire at Notre Dame Cathedral, but at the same time they are angry at the $1 billion in Notre Dame donations that poured in from tycoons while their own demands remain largely unmet and they struggle to make ends meet. 

Anti-rich messages have flourished on social media in recent days as yellow vest protesters exhorted wealthy donors to be more generous with France's underclass.

Some visitors showed solidarity with the yellow vest cause.

"I am not interested in joining them, but I can understand what they're angry about," said Antonio Costes, a retiree from the Paris suburb of Montreuil who came Saturday to see the damage to Notre-Dame. "There is a lot of injustice." 

See more of this report, with video, from CBS News.


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