French protesters, police clash on ‘yellow vest’ anniversary

AFP / MARTIN BUREAU In Paris, tensions were focused on the Place d’Italie

(AFP) – French police fired tear gas and water cannon against stone-throwing “yellow vest” protesters in Paris Saturday, on the first anniversary of the movement challenging President Emmanuel Macron’s policies.

There were clashes in other French cities as activists rallied to prove their movement is still a force to be reckoned with, a year after the first giant protest on November 17, 2018.

Numbers attending the protests and levels of violence have sharply diminished in recent months from the height of the movement, which began on the back of frustration Macron was failing to address the needs of ordinary French.

But Saturday’s protests — which demonstrators called “Act 53” of their weekly gatherings — marked the first serious clashes for months in central Paris between security forces and demonstrators.

Tensions focused on the Place d’Italie square in southeast Paris. Police in full riot gear flooded the area in tear gas and used water cannon after demonstrators threw stones, set rubbish bins alight and overturned a car and set it ablaze, AFP correspondents said.

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