France’s yellow vest protesters pile more pressure on President Macron
Dec 01, 2018 (Agencia EFE via COMTEX) —
Paris, Dec. 1 (EFE).- Anti-government protesters clashed with police around the Champs-Élysées for the third consecutive weekend, maintaining pressure on President Emmanuel Macron to backtrack on policies that have sparked widespread discontent, according to a report by Dow Jones Newswires made available to EFE on Saturday.
Riot police fired tear gas and stun grenades to push back thousands of “gilets jaunes” – or yellow vests – protesters who gathered near the renowned avenue and around the Arc de Triomphe on Saturday.
Some spray-painted “Macron Resign” and other slogans on the monument.
A smattering of protesters threw projectiles at police barricades. Prime Minister Édouard Philippe said 107 people were arrested.
“I am not happy with these images,” Philippe said as networks carried live broadcasts of the clashes. “They shock us.”
The gilets jaunes movement sprung up in response to Macron’s proposal to raise taxes on diesel fuel. But it has morphed into a broad anti-government movement for those who say Macron’s policies favor the wealthy and punish the working class.
Polls show that three-quarters of the French public support the yellow vests. Macron’s approval rating has fallen below 30 percent as the movement has gathered momentum over the past month.
“Macron taxes people like us,” said Cyril Goursaud, a factory worker from the city of Limoges who traveled to Paris for Saturday’s protests. “Anything to make the rich more rich, he does.”
Saturday’s protest appeared smaller than those of previous weekends, with police estimating turnout in the tens of thousands across France.
Still, protesters dominated the streets and airwaves by swarming the Arc de Triomphe and torching cars in the surrounding neighborhoods.
Barricades built in the middle of the city’s tree-lined