Riot police have been using tear gas to quell high school student protests across France today, as pupils have joined in the nationwide ‘yellow vest’ protests against the Macron-governments policies.
Video footage shows teenagers fleeing from police tear gas in Orleans during a walkout earlier today, while cars were set on fire outside a high school in the Paris’ suburb of Aubervilliers where seven students were arrested following a walk-out this morning.
Around 1,000 students, many wearing high-vis vests, demonstrated in the city of Nice, and photographs from a protest by high school pupils in Bordeaux appear to show riot police using batons against teens.
Hundreds of schools across the country have today been totally or partially blocked by students piggybacking on the ‘yellow vest’ demonstrations to air frustration over new university entrance requirements.
At the moment, anyone with a high school diploma can take any course at any public university in France at a nominal tuition fee, and Marcon’s government want colleges to be able to apply admissions criteria on some oversubscribed degrees.
Student anger: High school students protesting plans to apply academic selection at public universities clashed with riot police on Orleans
Dramatic: The video footage shows students facing riot police armed with batons and shields in Orleans
Violence: A high school student clashes with a riot police officer in Bordeaux, southwestern France, while protesting the education reforms which will see some university apply admissions criteria
No kid gloves: High school students run away from tear gas during a demonstration in Bordeaux, southwestern France, as thousands of teenagers stage blockades and walk-outs across the country
High school students block a road during a demonstration against the education reforms in Bordeaux
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe is today set to hold crisis talks over the riots – with the government not ruling out imposing a state of emergency
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Protests continued across the country on Monday, with dozens of ‘yellow vest’ demonstrators blocking access to a major fuel depot in the port of Fos-sur-Mer, near Marseille.
Traffic was also backed up on highways leading to the southern cities of Aix-en-Provence, Orange, Montpellier, Nimes and Sete as the movement, which began over fuel tax increases but has morphed into a broader wave of resistance to Macron’s pro-business policies, rumbled on.
In the capital Paris, ambulance workers took to the streets and gathered close to the National Assembly in downtown Paris to complain about changes to working conditions.
Protesters set tires on fire and blocked traffic as an activist held a board reading ‘The State killed me.’
A car burns outside the Lycee Professionnel Jean-Pierre Timbaud high school in the northern Paris’ suburb of Aubervilliers
Bins and other garbage burn outside the Lycee Professionnel Jean-Pierre Timbaud high school after being set ablaze by students protesting against French government’s education reforms
Destruction: Video footage from Saturday shows protesters in Paris flipping a white Porsche parked in a street
Cheers: Dozens of protesters in yellow vests surround the car being flipped over and cheers once it’s on its roof
Several videos filmed over the weekend show the damage and violence, with protesters seen flipping over a white Porsche and smashing a police car.
The videos emerged two days after protesters occupied Paris’ city centre, torched cars, smashed windows and sprayed graffiti on the Arc de Triomphe in France’s worst urban rioting in half a century.
Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has today met with business representatives to tally the damage from arson and shattered windows, looted shelves and lost revenue as the scenes of urban unrest stopped locals and tourists alike from venturing out.
‘Once we learn the costs of this destruction, I think everyone will be stunned at how huge it will be,’ Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said.
In an attempt to protect retailers, police had cordoned off access to the Champs Elysees on Saturday after clashes the previous weekend saw the iconic avenue smothered in tear gas and smoke from burning barricades.
But the effect was merely to displace the violence, with protesters attacking shops, banks, cars and buildings in surrounding streets instead, and demonstrators clashed with police.
Earlier today, video footage allegedly filmed on Saturday emerged online, showing French riot police kicking and beating a lone protester on a Paris street off the Champs-Elysees.
Police violence: The footage shows a man being beaten up and kicked by several riot police officers in Paris
Shocking scenes: The violent incident, allegedly filmed during Saturday’s protest, took place on Rue de Berri in Paris, just over half-a-mile from the Arc de Triomphe, where demonstrators wrote graffiti
The video starts with a male protester and riot police running down the street as one officer appears to get the demonstrator in a choke-hold.
As he throws the protester onto the ground outside a furniture shop on Rue de Berri in central Paris, just over half-a-mile from the Arc de Triomphe, six other riot police officers join him in kicking and beating the man on the ground.
In total around ten police officers can be seen in the video involved in the incident, which is alleged to have been filmed on Saturday night. It is not known what might have taken place before the filming began to spark the violent response from the police officers.
The ‘yellow vest’ protests began as a rebellion against a fuel tax hike but have expanded into weeks of civil unrest, and seen President Emmanuel Macron face calls for him to resign.
French ambulance drivers block traffic during a protest demonstration near the National Assembly in Paris on Monday
Protesters set tires on fire and mounted a skeleton carrying a board board reading ‘The State killed me’
Ambulance workers blocked traffic with various first responders vehicles on Monday morning
The burned-out shell of a car lies in the street on Sunday after it was set on fire during the violent protests in Paris
A yellow-vested protester raises his arms with cars burning behind him in scenes of violent carnage in Paris on Saturday
French President Emmanuel Macron inspects the wreckage on Sunday, where he was booed as he walked through the city
By Saturday night, it had spread across the country, and ended with 133 people injured, including 23 police officers, and 412 arrested.
Macron, who was jeered by lingering yellow-vest supporters at he attended to the scene of the riots upon his return from the G20 in Argentina on Sunday, yesterday chairing a crisis meeting with his government ministers at the Elysee Palace nearby.
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe will be holding crisis talks with representatives of the country’s major political parties today, and the government has not ruled out the possibility of imposing a state of emergency.
A government spokesman said it was ‘out of the question that each weekend becomes a meeting or ritual for violence’ after a second consecutive Saturday ended in violent carnage in Paris.
A state of emergency would allow extra powers to the forces of law and order, ranging from stop-and-searches to carrying out raids on the homes of suspected rioters, amid calls for the army to be called in.
Clean-up: Graffiti was removed from Arc de Triomphe Sunday, after anti-Macron protesters stormed through Paris
Workers wearing protective clothing scrub graffiti off the Arc de Triomphe on Sunday after the violence this weekend
French President Emmanuel Macron visits the Arc de Triomphe as soon as he returned from the G20 summit in Argentina. He condemned the violence and vowed to bring the rioters to justice
Three cars burn in bright orange flames as a masked protester wearing the signature yellow vest stands in front of them
Demonstrators stand in front of a burning car during the yellow vest protest in Paris on Saturday
An overturned car burns in flames during the protests in Paris on Saturday, which grew into one of France’s worst urban riots
Macron surveys the damage in Paris Sunday, with a burnt motorbike lying in a street a day after the carnage in the capital
May 1968 Paris riots
Following months of conflicts between students and authorities at the Nanterre campus of the University of Paris, the administration shut down the university on 2 May 1968.
Thousands of members of the students union met in Paris on 3 May to protest against the closure.
The protests quickly spread to other unions bringing about massive general strikes as well as the occupation of universities and factories across France.
The protests reached such a point that political leaders feared civil war or revolution as the economy was ground to a halt.
President Charles de Gaulle secretly fled France for a few hours to a military base in Germany.
When he returned he dissolved the National Assembly and called for elections on 23 June, which he won.
Macron’s office said in a statement that the president had asked his interior minister to prepare security forces for future protests and his prime minister to hold talks with political party leaders and representatives of the protesters.
The Arc was among hundreds of buildings attacked by the protesters on Saturday as the Champs-Elysees was reduced to a warzone in the centre of the French capital.
Protesters set fire to cars and Christmas trees, hurled barricades at police, smashed up windows and graffitied the 19th-century arch – while calling for Macron to resign – in violence which continued into the night.
Video footage allegedly filmed on Saturday night and shared online shows military snipers positioned on a roof in central Paris as yellow vest protesters walk below.
On the facade of the towering 19th-century arch, protesters scrawled in big black letters: ‘The yellow vests will triumph’, while along the Champs-Elysees, peaceful demonstrators held up a slogan reading, ‘Macron, stop treating us like idiots!’
France last brought in a state of emergency in 2015, following terrorist attacks by Islamic State, which lasted until November 2017.
Protesters said Saturday’s riots were the ‘start of a revolution’, in violence which echoed the near-revolution of 1968.
‘We are in an insurrectional climate,’ said Frederic Lagache, of the Alliance police union, which called for the State of Emergency.
Mr Lagache said ‘army reinforcements’ should be brought in to guard public monuments, freeing up the police to deal with other trouble spots.
Sixteen identity check points and police barricades had been set up on the Champs Elysees for the first time in its history in an attempt to avoid rioting but the measures failed to halt the anarchy in Paris.
President Macron meets firefighters in the streets of Paris on Sunday the morning after the violence erupted in the capital
The French President at the Arc de Triomphe on Sunday, standing in front of a message saying ‘Macron – we want your a**e’
Macron sits across from Prime Minister Edouard Philippe at the start of a meeting at the Elysee Palace to address the violence
Police get to work this morning wiping the message ‘The Yellow Vests Will Triumph’ off the historic Arc de Triomphe
A Parisian looks at the vandalised window of a bank in the city centre yesterday, following Saturday’s violent protests
Burned cars on the street on Sunday after protesters torched vehicles and clashed with riot police on Saturday
Riot police take control of the Place de l’Etoile, which surrounds the Arc de Triomphe at the end of the Champs-Elysees
A demonstrator holds a French flag and wears a yellow jacket among a pile of Christmas trees during Saturday’s protest
Condemning the violence, Macron said: ‘No cause justifies that authorities are attacked, that businesses are plundered, that passers-by or journalists are threatened or that the Arc du Triomphe is defiled.
‘Those guilty of this violence don’t want change, they don’t want improvements, they want chaos. They betray the causes that they pretend to serve and which they manipulate.
‘They will be identified and brought to justice for their actions. I will always respect debate and I will always listen to opposition but I will never accept violence’.
The ‘yellow vest’ or ‘gilets jaunes’ movement was first prompted by Macron’s move to raise the price of diesel fuel to help the environment.
Motorists took to the streets wearing the high-visibility yellow jackets which drivers are required to carry in their vehicles in France, giving the movement its name.
Since then the protest has gathered momentum and taken aim at the high cost of living and wider dissatisfaction with Macron’s presidency.
A police car burns after clashes between police and protesters, in Marseille, in what has become a national protest movement
Burned cars are seen on Kleber avenue on Sunday morning the day after some of France’s worst rioting in 50 years
Firefighters wearing helmets and protective clothes spray water over a burning car in the centre of Paris amid violent protests
Cars are seen on fire during the ‘yellow vest’ demonstration on an avenue in Paris last night
The protests on Saturday spread beyond Paris as demonstrators wearing the same high-vis vests blocked a motorway in Biarritz in the south-west of the country and let off yellow smoke grenades in Marseille, France’s second-largest city.
The yellow-jacket protests even spread to The Hague, in the Netherlands, where people gathered outside the Dutch parliamentary building on Saturday.
The French government has faced difficulties dealing with the protesters as the movement has no real leadership and has not aligned itself with any political organisation.
Macron has sought to douse the anger by promising three months of nationwide talks on turning France into a low-carbon economy without penalising the poor.
He also vowed to slow the rate of increase in fuel taxes if international oil prices rise too rapidly but only after a tax hike due in January.
On Friday, the government tried – mostly in vain – to talk to representatives of the movement.
Eight were invited to meet Prime Minister Edouard Philippe but only two turned up, and one walked out after being told he could not invite TV cameras in to broadcast the encounter live to the nation.
The protests have caught Macron off guard just as he was trying to counter a fall in his popularity rating to 30 per cent.
His unyielding response has exposed him to charges of being out of touch with ordinary people.
Riot police officers stand in the middle of the damage of La Belle Armee restaurant after the rioting in Paris last night
Smoke can be seen rising in the distance, in a picture taken from the top of the Arc de Triomphe amid the rioting
This picture taken from the top of the Arc de Triomphe shows a scattering of yellow-vested protesters and smoke rising over the Paris skyline as darkness starts to fall on the French capital after a day of violent protest
French riot police are seen locking down a street through the shattered window of the La Belle Armee restaurant which was destroyed in the protests
A vandalised shop is seen on a street the morning after clashes between police and protesters in the city
French riot police are drenched in spray paint after cans were hurled at them by yellow vest protesters in the capital