Keyword: 'yellow vests'
The French interior ministry counted some 33,700 protesters throughout the country, including 4,000 in Paris, in Saturday's demonstrations.
France's road safety department attributed a 17% rise in fatal road accidents last month to destruction of speed cameras by the protesters.
While the 19th nationwide day of action on Saturday by France's so-called 'yellow vest' anti-government protest movement passed off largely without violence, a 73-year-old woman taking part in a banned rally in the south-east city of Nice received life-threatening head wounds in a charge by riot police.
A major political controversy has erupted over a government decision to use French troops, normally deployed on streets in anti-terrorism patrols, to defend official buildings and free-up police numbers during anti-government 'yellow vest' protests this weekend, amid tensions heightened by a ban on demonstrations in certain towns and cities.
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, reacting to sharp criticism of policing during Saturday's 'yellow vest' anti-government demonstrations in Paris which saw buildings, stores, restaurants and newsstands torched in the capital's centre, announced on Monday that the Paris police chief has been sacked, that future rallies in established trouble spots around the country may be banned, while he also approved wider use by police of the controversial LBD rubber bullet weapons which have left more than two hundred injured, many of them seriously, during the three months of rolling protests.
An 18th weekend of action in so-called 'yellow vest' protests against falling standards of living for low- and middle-income earners left about 60 people, including police officers, injured in Paris where stores, restaurants, banks and vehicles were set ablaze and more than 190 arrests were made.
When President Emmanuel Macron spoke to a group of journalists at the end of January this year he claimed there were “40,000 to 50,000 extreme militants” stirring up the 'yellow vest' protests, and he warned that violence was being orchestrated by political hardliners. Yet at the very same time the president's own intelligence services were producing an analysis which came to precisely the opposite conclusion. According to those security agencies, the ultra-right and ultra-left are “virtually non-existent” in the protest marches. Matthieu Suc reports on the president who appears to be ignoring or contradicting his own secret services.
Dany Kocher from Phalsbourg in eastern France issued the decree, citing UN demand for a probe into claims of police brutality as one reason.
The United Nations has followed the European Parliament in criticising the policing of some demonstrations staged by 'yellow vest' protestors in France. The UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights condemned what she called the “excessive use of force” used by the police on some occasions. The criticism came after interior minister Christophe Castaner's terse response to opposition MP Loïc Prud’homme after the latter was hit with a baton during a yellow vest protest last Saturday March 2nd in Bordeaux. Carine Fouteau reports.
Lower turnout for weekend's marches will be a relief for President Emmanuel Macron who has struggled to find a response to the movement.
France's so-called 'yellow vest' demonstrations against falling living standards among low- and middle-income earners, which since its beginnings in November has become a protest movement against the governement and the political elite, again drew tens of thousands of protestors nationwide on Saturday, which the interior mionisrty estimated to number 46,600, an increase on last weekend.
Several rallies against anti-Semitism are to be held in France on Tuesday evening following alarming recent incidents of attacks trageting Jewish businesses and symbols, and notably following the verbal abuse by protestors among 'yellow vest' marchers in Paris at the weekend against an outspoken Jewish academic which has tainted and divided an eclectic movement prompted by anger at falling living standards for the lower-paid.
Veteran French academic philosopher and media commentator Alain Finkielkraut, a member of the prestigious Académie Française, was filmed this weekend being insulted by a group of 'yellow vest' protestors during a chance encounter on the streets of Paris, when he was the subject of anti-Semitic abuse from some marchers of the movement against falling living standards and the political establishment.
The French 'yellow vest' movement of revolt over falling living conditions for lower income households and against the political establishment held a 14th day successive day of action on Saturday, when contested interior ministry estimates said turnout across the country was around 41,500, down on last weekend.
An opinion survey published this week has found a majority of those questioned wish an end to the rolling 'yellow vest' street protests centred on falling standards of living for low-and middle-income earners, although most still continue to sympathise with the demands of the movement.