Turkey issues travel warning for France, citing protests

Muriel Hammond
December 3, 2018

On Saturday, more than 130 people were injured and 412 arrested Saturday in the French capital amid one of the nation's worst unrest in recent times.

Police said Sunday that those injured during Saturday's protest included 23 police officers.

They knew how to burn a barricade or a auto, and when the police fire tear gas, they gave advice to those around them, telling them not to panic and not to run, news agency AFP journalists on the scene observed.

Upon his return to Paris on Sunday, Macron immediately visited the capital's Arc de Triomphe - a flashpoint in Saturday's violent protests - to "take stock of the damage" and pay tribute to the tomb of the unknown soldier at its base, CNN affiliate BFMTV reported.

PARIS-President Emmanuel Macron considered declaring a state of emergency as he met security chiefs on December 2, seeking a way out of nationwide protests after rioters turned central Paris into a battle zone and vandalized the Arc de Triomphe monument.

Macron denounced the violence from the G-20 summit in Argentina, saying those who attacked police and vandalized the Arc de Triomphe will be "held responsible for their acts".

On Saturday, several hundred people gathered under the Arc de Triomphe at the top of the Champs Elysees and sat down to sing the French national anthem before chanting "Macron resign".

The movement has spilled across to neighbouring Belgium, where riot police used water cannon on Friday to disperse stone-throwing "yellow vest" protesters who burned two police vehicles in the centre of Brussels.

Three people reportedly died in incidents related to the protests which began on November 17 over rising taxation but grew into general anti-government demonstrations.

On Monday, the protests spread to around a hundred schools nationwide, which were partially or totally blocked by teenagers piggybacking on the demonstrations to air frustration over new university entrance requirements.

The violence is Macron's biggest challenge so far as president, and even colored his global image as he had to defend his plans for fuel tax rises - the initial impetus for the protest movement - to other leaders at the G-20 summit. These are traditionally fertile ground for the far-right, led by Marine Le Pen, which already leads surveys of voting intentions.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe

The "yellow vest" movement, which largely grew thanks to social media, has no leadership.

They were not necessarily hard-core political activists nor veterans of street violence: some of them however were ready to resort to violence to protest against government policies.

At the Arc de Triomphe, he saw the graffiti targeting him and his government sprayed on the outside, and inside the devastation in the ticketing and reception areas, which had been ransacked by rioters.

An estimated 75,000 protesters, the majority of them peaceful, were counted across France on Saturday afternoon, according to the interior ministry.

French paramedics also joined the ongoing protests as the prime minister met with political rivals on Monday in a bid to ease anger following violent riots that rocked Paris.

"Every month we end up 500 euros in the red".

Castaner also mentioned 200 peaceful protesters, called "yellow jackets" for the fluorescent vests they wear, on the Champs-Elysees.

Deutsche Welle says the protesters had demanded that the cabinet reverse its position on fuel taxes, but Macron has remained determined to continue on the set course.

Chantal, a 61-year-old pensioner who came from an eastern Paris suburb, said she was avoiding the "hooligans" but was determined to send President Emmanuel Macron a message on the rising costs of living.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has been asked to meet protest organisers and party leaders as part of a "constant wish for dialogue", the Elysee Palace said.

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