Yellow vest 'ultimatum' rally turns violent in Paris

Yellow vest 'ultimatum' rally turns violent in Paris

PARIS- Agence France-Presse
Yellow vest ultimatum rally turns violent in Paris

After weeks of declining participation, France's "yellow vest" protest movement attempted to rebound on March 16 with a major rally in Paris which quickly turned violent.

A large crowd gathered on the Champs-Elysees avenue for the 18th straight week of anti-government protests which initially rocked President Emmanuel Macron's administration, forcing him to adopt more anti-poverty measures, but had appeared to fizzle in recent weeks.

Police fired tear gas to disperse protesters who erected barricades near the Champs-Elysees in scenes reminiscent of some of the most tense "yellow vest" rallies.

Attempted reboot coincides with the end of two months of public debates called by Macron to take the heat out of the protests, which repeatedly ended in rioting in December and January.

Last week, only around 28,000 people demonstrated nationwide, according to the authorities, a tenth of the numbers that turned out for the inaugural protest on November 17.

The organizers of the recent protest presented it as an "ultimatum" to Macron, prompting fears of a return to the violence that characterized earlier rallies.

Over 5,000 police were deployed.

A large security cordon had been thrown up around the Champs-Elysees, where the Arc de Triomphe war memorial was sacked and stores looted and vandalized by protesters on December 1 in images that caused shock worldwide.

In December, Macron attempted to stopper the movement by pledging 10 billion euros ($11.2 billion) in tax cuts and benefits for the low paid and pensioners.

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