Sunday 21 April 2019

New crackdown as the Champs-Élysées burns

Anger: A yellow vest protester throws an EU flag into a burning shop on the Champs-Élysees in Paris at the weekend. Photo: Getty Images
Anger: A yellow vest protester throws an EU flag into a burning shop on the Champs-Élysees in Paris at the weekend. Photo: Getty Images

Thomas Adamson

France's prime minister will present plans today to crack down on rioters after a new flare-up of violence linked to the yellow vest protest movement.

Rioters ransacked stores and restaurants while lighting fires along Paris's Champs Élysées avenue as they clashed with police.

Cutting short a weekend ski trip, President Emmanuel Macron returned to Paris for a crisis meeting with ministers at which he ordered decisions to be taken rapidly "so this doesn't happen again".

Prime Minister Édouard Philippe's office said the latest violence showed current security arrangements were "insufficient".

Cleaners swept up broken glass, while shop owners boarded up smashed windows yesterday after the worst unrest in central Paris since violence peaked before Christmas in a weekly series of protests.

Vandals left hardly a storefront or cafe unscathed on Saturday, breaking windows and looting luxury stores as they clashed with riot police.

Rioters also set fire to an upmarket handbag store and badly damaged the famous brasserie Fouquet's.

Two newstands were burnt to their metallic frames and in a nearby street a bank branch was set on fire, badly damaging the building and apartments above it.

Police estimated that 10,000 people joined the latest yellow vest protest in Paris and Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said a hard-core of about 1,500 was intent on causing trouble.

Irish Independent

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