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YELLOW VEST

LATEST: ‘Yellow vest’ road blocks continue with Macron under pressure to respond

President Emmanuel Macron and his government were set to announce measures aimed at taking the sting out of the gilets jaunes (yellow vest) protests that continued for a 10th day around France on Monday.

LATEST: 'Yellow vest' road blocks continue with Macron under pressure to respond
Photo: AFP

There were filtered road blocks in place across France on Monday morning as anti-government “yellow vest” protesters continued their fight against rising fuel taxes and declining living standards.

The number of operations were at a far lower level than seen in recent days nevertheless motorists could run into difficulty on roads in parts of the country including Brittany, particularly the Côte d'Armor, Morbihan and Finistere departments.

In Normandy protesters were in place to slow traffic on roads leading into the city of Rouen and blockades were also in place outside Le Havre and on the Tancarville bridge.

But there were also road blocks in place to the east of Strasbourg and on the N66 in the Haut-Rhin department in eastern France.

in Bordeaux there were reports that protesters had blocked the entrance to a bus depot in the city meaning some services were disrupted.

The government looks set to respond after a week of protests culminated in violence on the Champs-Elysées on Saturday when protesters clashed with riot police that left the famous avenue looking like a war zone.

Macron is promising a “social pact” to help people pay for the so-called “ecological transition” as they switch to greener cars and ways of heating their homes.

Measures are expected to be announced on Monday morning after a cabinet meeting while Macron will appear on TV t explain his response on Tuesday.

A new bill presented by the transport minister is also expected to include measures to boost public transport in rural France to try to reduce people's reliance on cars.

The question the yellow vest protesters are asking now is “where do we go from here?”

Already there is talk on social media of organising another protest in Paris next Saturday, with tens of thousands suggesting they are ready to take part.

But some of the movement's unofficial leaders are not supporting the idea of a new protest and prefer to wait for the measures to be announced by the government.

 

More to follow

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PROTESTS

What happened to the rioters who trashed the Arc de Triomphe during yellow vest violence?

A court in France has finally handed out sentences to some of those involved in the vandalism and theft at the Arc de Triomphe in December 2018 - when 'yellow vest' violence in Paris shocked the world.

What happened to the rioters who trashed the Arc de Triomphe during yellow vest violence?
'Yellow vest' protesters clash with police by the Arc de Triomphe on December 1st 2018 in Paris. Photo: Abdulmonam EASSA / AFP

The French court on Thursday sentenced eight people to suspended jail terms and community service for taking part in one of the most violent episodes of the anti-government ‘yellow vest’ protests that rocked France two years ago.

A total of nine stood trial this week for the incident, but one of them, a former soldier, was cleared for lack of evidence, presiding judge Sonia Lumbroso said at the verdict.

The court ruled the suspects were neither the instigators nor the main culprits of the vandalism and looting around the Arc de Triomphe monument in Paris, when scenes of destruction and fierce clashes with police made global headlines.

Most of them had no criminal records.

They were sentenced to 70 hours of community service for entering the monument, but those also found guilty of stealing items such as postcards, Arc de Triomphe models or miniature Eiffel Towers from the gift shop, were fined €100 for theft.

A ‘yellow vest’ protester arrives at the courthouse in Paris to attend the trial of ten people on charge of destruction and theft around the Arc de Triomphe monument in Paris. Photo: Thomas COEX / AFP

One of the group, a man who was caught on camera trying to break down a door with a fire extinguisher, was handed the most severe sentence, a suspended prison term of eight months.

Dozens of cars were set on fire and businesses trashed all along the celebrated Champs-Elysées avenue on December 1st, 2018, the third Saturday of mass demonstrations against President Emmanuel Macron.

READ ALSO: Macron risks losing support from left against Le Pen in French presidential election

He was accused of ignoring the plight of struggling French families and after months of protests he abandoned a planned fuel tax hike and raised spending on the lowest earners.

The protesters had already skirmished with security forces at earlier rallies, but police were unprepared for the rioting that engulfed the capital just a few weeks before Christmas.

Despite firing volleys of tear gas and rubber bullets, the officers were forced to abandon their positions around the Arc de Triomphe, which honours France’s war dead.

Protesters snuffed out the eternal flame over the tomb of an unknown World War I soldier and spray-painted the stone walls with graffiti including “the yellow vests will triumph”.

Others forced their way inside the arch, ransacking the gift shop and damaging scores of artworks, causing damage that cost €1.2 million to repair.

READ ALSO: Is France’s ‘yellow vest’ movement really on its way back?

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