The protests that have swept France have arrived in the capital. Demonstrators are upset at a new fuel tax and accuse President Emmanuel Macron of being out of touch.
Police fired water cannons and tear gas at protesters in Paris early on Saturday, as the “yellow vest” demonstrators continued a week of opposition to rising fuel costs and the economic policies of President Emmanuel Macron.
After staging roadblocks on highways across France for days, hundreds of demonstrators converged on the Champs Elysees carrying signs that read “Macron, thief” and “Macron, resign.”
Wearing the fluorescent yellow vests donned by stranded motorists in France, the protesters are upset about new taxes on diesel and ordinary gasoline, designed to encourage people to favor more environmentally friendly transport. Along with these taxes, the government has offered financial incentives to buy more fuel-efficient or electric vehicles.
Since coming into office in May 2017, Macron has repeatedly faced criticism about being out of touchwith the common women and men of France.
He has been dubbed the “president of the rich” for cutting a wealth tax and his approval rating is at a dismal 20 percent.
Police fear protests infiltrated by extremists
Police have warned that they believe the far-left and far-right are infiltrating the protests in order to stir up violent unrest. The demonstrations have included burning barricades and convoys of slow-moving trucks. A massive campaign last Saturday saw 300,000 join the protests nationwide.
The French Interior Ministry has confirmed that at least two people have been killed and 606 injured in mainland France alone as the protests spread to French overseas territories.
On Saturday, hundreds of police formed a barrier in front of the protesters to prevent them from reaching their goal, the Elysee Palace, Macron’s residence.
Dw, es/rc (AFP, Reuters)
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