Clashes as yellow vest protesters return to central Paris

12 September 2020, 17:14

Yellow vest protesters have taken to the streets in a number of French cities
Yellow vest protesters have taken to the streets in a number of French cities. Picture: PA

By Joe Cook

French riot police are out in numbers as hundreds of “yellow vest” protesters return to the capital, some setting fire to bins and vehicles.

Parisian Police announced that as of 2:45pm (UK time) they had made 222 arrests and were working to disperse violent groups on the margins of the demonstrations.

Projectiles were thrown at police who responded with teargas, while videos posted on social media showed protesters throwing rocks and jumping on a black Mercedes, which was later set alight.

An elderly man who intervened to stop the vandalism was pushed to the floor, before being defended by other demonstrators.

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The anti-government movement has been dampened by the coronavirus pandemic and authorities banned protesters from the Champs-Elysees, which saw rioting at the height of the demonstrations two years ago.

Some shops on the famous avenue boarded up their windows and police carried out identity checks and bag searches.

Other gatherings are planned in Marseille, Toulouse, Lyon, Lille, Nantes, Nice, Bordeaux or Strasbourg, reported French news site 20minutes.

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A protester on the ground after fighting with another demonstrator
A protester on the ground after fighting with another demonstrator. Picture: PA

While many protesters in Paris wore masks, little social distancing was observed, as France grapples with a resurgence of coronavirus cases.

The French capital is among the country's coronavirus “red zones” and those not wearing a face mask in the street can be fined 135 euros.

President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday that people must be “collectively much more responsible and vigilant on isolating”.

France recorded 9,260 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, according to data from the World Health Organisation, and has a cumulative incidence rate of 114.8 cases per 100,000 people over the latest 14-day period.