2000 Yellow Vests Clash With Police During 22nd Week of Anti-Macron Uprising
Riot police fire teargas at protesters in Toulouse, France during violent scenes
2000 Yellow Vest protesters clashed with riot police in France on Saturday as the uprising against French President Emmanuel Macron reaches its 22nd week.
Yellow Vests flooded the streets in the French city of Toulouse as liberal leader Macron prepared to announce a series of new policies aimed at quashing 22 consecutive weekends of anti-government protests.
The picturesque city in the South of France resembled a war zone as police fired teargas and arrested several people.
The clashes between police and Yellow Vests turned violent as hundreds of demonstrators started throwing objects, burning rubbish bins and trying to enter areas where protests have been banned in retaliation.
An estimated 2,000 protesters gathered on the Allee Jean Jaures - a wide avenue in the city center - and along nearby side streets.
According to the Daily Mail, activist groups had said on social media networks that Toulouse would be the focus for the 22nd round of demonstrations, prompting city mayor Jean-Claude Moudenc to express concern ahead of today's protests.
Marches in Paris and elsewhere were largely peaceful by early afternoon but the protests continue to put pressure on Macron.
He has vowed to announce a series of measures aimed at easing discontent in the country.
The protests, named after the high-visibility safety jackets worn by demonstrators, began in November to oppose fuel tax increases.
However, the movement quickly morphed into a broader backlash against Macron's government, despite a swift reversal of the tax hikes and other hurried measures worth more than 10 billion euros to boost purchasing power for lower-income voters.
In response to rioting that made parts of Paris resemble war zones, Macron launched a two-month "grand debat," a sweeping consultation that included a series of town hall meetings across the country.
French police saturated the centre of Toulouse with tear gas earlier today as thousands of 'yellow vests' protested against the government for the 22nd weekend in row. pic.twitter.com/9rfbcVp4yG #ActeXXII #GiletsJaunes— Richard Wellings (@RichardWellings) April 13, 2019
Macron is due to introduce specific measures early next week.
Outlining the findings of the initiative, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said this week that it had highlighted demands including quicker tax cuts, action to address climate change and closer ties between Paris and the provinces.
Last week, a dwindling number of protesters marched through the streets of France for the demonstrations, with thousands of people crisscrossing Paris and a group briefly invading the busy beltway around the city.
Riot police rounded up these protesters and fired a round of tear gas on the street above to stop others from entering a ramp on to the road.
Police also fired tear gas in Rouen, Normandy, in a showdown with protesters after fires were set in garbage cans and elsewhere.
The Interior Ministry counted 22,300 participants nationwide and 3,500 in Paris, French media reported last week.
Those were the lowest numbers since the yellow vest protests started on November 17.
But the movement routinely contests the government's protest attendance figures.
Agnes Berger, a protester from Saint Cloud, west of Paris, said: "We will continue until victory.
"We give up nothing, because today, nothing has been obtained.
"We still have a corrupt system, an elite that governs against the people."
The number of people taking part in the yellow vest demonstrations has been falling since the first protests over fuel hikes drew hundreds of thousands of people.
But the leaderless grassroots movement for social and economic justice continues to pose a challenge for French President Emmanuel Macron.