Over 700 arrested in Paris amid violent fuel protests

  • Thick plumes of black smoke from the city as several cars were torched in the latest breakout

PARIS – French authorities on Saturday arrested more than 650 protesters during the latest wave of anti-government protests over a hike in fuel prices in the capital, international media reported.

As many as 8,000 personnel have been deployed in streets of Paris, who are equipped with a dozen barricade-busting armoured vehicles that are being used for the first time in a French urban area since 2005.

The protests collectively referred to as “yellow vest” during which demonstrators clashed with riot police, demanding the resignation of President Emmanuel Macron.

The law enforcers fired tear gas on the famous Champs-Elysees avenue to disperse the agitators while thick plumes of black smoke are erupting from the city as several cars were torched in the latest breakout.

Police also confiscated surgical masks and goggles used to protect against the effects of tear gas.

On Friday, France had decided to close the landmarks including the Eiffel Tower, the prominent tourist place, on Saturday due to protests.

Thousands of police officers were mobilized to tighten the security to prevent another outbreak of violence that has crippled the country for three weeks.

Due to the protests, the authorities had also cancelled matches of French league football this weekend across the country.

Across the country, the strength of the police has been increased to 89,000 from 65,000 deployed last weekend when over 130 people were injured and more than 400 were detained in the worst violent protests in decades.

As many as four people have lost their lives since the unrest began after the government revised upward the diesel taxes on November 17.

The protesters are collectively referre3d to as the “yellow vest” movement, in reference to the fluorescent safety outfit French motorists keep in their cars.

In addition to the closure of the Eiffel Tower, many shopping plazas across the country, including the Louvre, Orsay Museum and the Grand Palais, are closed for safety reasons.