The first anniversary of the "Yellow West" movement in France has been marked by scenes of violence, especially in Paris. On Saturday, cars were knocked down in several quarters of the capital, garbage bins set fire to bus stops and devastated. In other parts of the country, thousands of "yellow vests" blocked roads and intersections to demand further reforms. Rallies on Sunday – the actual anniversary – were peaceful.
The main focus of the protests was Saturday, when, according to the Ministry of the Interior, 28,000 people took to the streets across the country; in Paris it was therefore 4700th The "yellow west" movement spoke of nationwide more than 39,500 participants.
Protesters storm department store
On Sunday, around 200 people gathered in the center of Paris. The Galeries Lafayette closed in the early afternoon, after several dozen "yellow vests" had temporarily invaded the luxury department store and customers had to be brought to safety. The demonstrators were brought outside shortly after their intrusion.
By noon, according to the police in Paris, 20 people were arrested. On Saturday, 254 people were arrested nationwide, 173 of them in Paris. On Sunday morning 155 people were in custody, including eight minors.
Interior Minister Christophe Castaner blamed "crooks" and "thugs" for Sunday's violence on Sunday. They had "come to fight, to fight with the security forces, to prevent the fire brigade from working".
Police confronted with masked rioters
In Paris, the situation had temporarily escalated on Saturday afternoon at the Place d'Italie. Policemen used tear gas and water cannons against demonstrators and at times tried in vain to disperse small, very mobile groups of partially disguised rioters. Protesters were injured, firefighters hindered at work.
Several dozen masked, black-clad demonstrators destroyed the doors of a shopping center in the square and the windows of a hotel. Because of the violence and the riots, the police prohibited a demonstration announced for the afternoon, which was to begin at the Place d'Italie.
In the northwest of Paris, security forces intervened near the Porte de Champerret, as several dozen "yellow vests" briefly occupied the city highway. "We're here, even if Macron does not want that," they called to the address of President Emmanuel Macron.
Several metro stations were closed on Saturday, the boulevard Champs Elysees was closed to protesters. It was quiet there. For a while, there was a tense situation on the Place de la Bastille, where a demonstration was stopped by security forces.
He had come to Paris "because we have no answer from Macron except utter contempt," Dijon-born protester John said. Taxes and fuel prices would continue to rise. "We will continue to demonstrate until something moves," he said.
Nationwide blockade actions
Intersections and shopping malls have been occupied in numerous regions of the country. There were riots on Saturday including in Bordeaux, Toulouse, Nantes and Lyon. Nationwide, the movement had announced 270 blockade actions for the weekend.
The "yellow vests" had set on the occasion of the first anniversary back on greater inflow for their movement. For the first nationwide protest day on November 17, 2018, more than 280,000 protesters in yellow safety vests had exploded onto the streets to fight high fuel prices and social inequality.
Their main goal has not reached the "yellow vests": the resignation of Macron, who is a "president of the rich" for them. The head of state has made concessions in response to the protests, which the government estimated at 17 billion euros. These include a reduction in income tax and a higher minimum wage. The "yellow vests" criticize, of which almost nothing arrived at the socially disadvantaged
In Paris, protests of the so-called yellow vests have escalated. Participants of the movement blocked the Franco-Spanish motorway border at Le Perthus.