(The Guardian Online) France will consider imposing a state of emergency to prevent a recurrence of some of the worst civil unrest in more than a decade, a government spokesman said on Sunday, as peaceful protestors were urged to come to the negotiating table.
The morning after groups of young men wearing masks rioted on the streets of central Paris, Benjamin Griveaux told Europe 1 radio: “We have to think about the measures that can be taken so that these incidents don’t happen again.” When asked about imposing a state of emergency, Griveaux said the president, prime minister and interior minister would discuss all options available to them at a meeting on Sunday.
The French president, Emmanuel Macron, has insisted he will “never accept violence” after central Paris saw its worst unrest in a decade on Saturday when thousands of masked protesters fought running battles with police, torched cars, set fires to banks and houses, and burned makeshift barricades on the edges of demonstrations against fuel tax.
Near the Arc de Triomphe, one of Paris’s best-known monuments, masked men burned barricades, set fire to buildings, smashed fences and torched luxury cars on some of the most expensive streets in the city as riot police fired teargas and water cannon.
Then, by early evening, rioters spread around Paris in a game of cat and mouse with police. Luxury department stores on Boulevard Haussmann were evacuated as cars were set alight and windows smashed. Near the Louvre, metal grilles were ripped down at the Tuileries Garden where fires were started.