World

Paris climate march halted amid clashes between activists and police

Activists run through clouds of tear gas Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Activists run through clouds of tear gas

A proposed peaceful climate march in Paris has been halted after it was infiltrated by other protest groups.

Groups of yellow vest demonstrators joined in, breaking windows and setting fire to street barricades in a resurgence of protests against the French government.

Families abandoned the march as violent clashes prompted police to fire tear gas and make over 100 arrests.

A huge security operation involved 7,000 police officers.

The climate change march gathered on the Champs Elysees Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The march was intended to be festive, family-friendly and peaceful

The climate change march and a protest against pension reform were both authorised, while the yellow vest demonstrations went ahead illegally.

Several hundred so-called “black bloc” protesters, who covered their faces with black scarves, sunglasses and hoods, gathered at different points in the French capital.

A yellow vest protester being arrested in Paris Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Yellow vest protesters wore black, abandoning the trademark hi-vis vests

The majority of yellow vest demonstrators did not wear the trademark fluorescent jackets to avoid being visible.

As the violence worsened, police, who have previously been accused of heavy-handedness, used tear gas to disperse groups of protesters.

A police officer in a stand-off with a protester Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Police have previously been accused of violence in their response to the yellow vest movement

A video posted on Twitter shows climate change protesters covering their mouths as tear gas from further afield was carried to them by the wind.

At some points, the two protests appeared to converge with a giant banner reading “Macron: Polluter of the earth”.

A protester wearing a prison outfit with a mask of President Macron Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A lot of anger was targeted at President Macron from both sides of the protest

Footage shows two chants being sung at the same time, which translate into English as: “Macron, we are here” and “We are hotter than the climate”.

Greenpeace told climate change protesters to abandon the march as conditions were not appropriate for a non-violent protest.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionDramatic footage shows a police crackdown on Paris yellow vest protesters

The gilets jaunes (yellow vest) movement started last November over increased fuel prices, evolving into weekly protests that continued well into the spring and often turned violent.

They accused President Emmanuel Macron of being out of touch.

The protests prompted Mr Macron to introduce reforms including tax cuts and a more decentralised government.

Fire-fighters stand next to bins, rubbish and a bike on fire in the Paris streets Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Violent protesters caused havoc on the streets

One of Saturday’s protesters told French media outlet Le Monde that they continued to protest because of “injustice” but said they were worried about the “bad image” of the yellow vests.

“I am not a thug,” the protester insisted.

A line of riot police firing tear gas at a protester Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Police were heavily decked out in riot gear

Saturday’s protests interfered with France’s annual Heritage Day, when well-known sites open their doors to the public.

On Friday, President Macron said it was good that that people could express themselves but asked that the protests proceeded in a “calm” manner.

He has not yet commented on Saturday’s events.

A protester suffering the after-effects of tear gas is assisted by a journalist Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A protester suffering the after-effects of tear gas is assisted by a journalist
The front of the climate change march Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The climate change protest started with a very different atmosphere

All pictures copyright.

Source: bbc.co.uk

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *