PARIS – More than 260 people were detained following Yellow Vest protests across France on Saturday, French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said on Sunday, adding that in Paris alone police apprehended more than 170 people.
“Yesterday, 264 people were detained, including 173 in Paris [following the rallies],” Castaner told Europe 1 radio station.
The Yellow Vest movement marked its first anniversary this weekend with mass rallies across the country. The demonstration in the City of Lights turned violent, with protesters clashing with police and the latter resorting to tear gas and water cannon.
France, especially its capital, Paris, has been swept by Yellow Vest protests since mid-November 2018. Started initially as rallies against fuel tax hikes, the protests then grew into a full-scale movement which representatives took to the streets every Saturday.
Although the government abandoned its plans on raising the fuel tax, protesters continued hitting the streets across France, demanding fewer taxes, wage hikes and even the resignation of President Emmanuel Macron.
The rallies often ended in violent confrontations between police and demonstrators, with the later hurling stones and projectiles at officers, smashing cars and shop windows and erecting and subsequently burning barricades. Police repeatedly resorted to tear gas and water cannon to disperse the most violent demonstrators. The clashes resulted in numerous injuries, some very severe, among both police and protesters.