SHARE
COPY LINK

YELLOW VEST

French soldiers to patrol streets during next ‘yellow vest’ protest

French soldiers will be on duty on Saturday for the next "yellow vest" protest in order to free up police officers to concentrate on crowd control.

French soldiers to patrol streets during next 'yellow vest' protest
Soldiers will be deployed to guard public buildings, allowing police to focus their resources on protests. Photo: AFP

The troops will be deployed on Saturday to help guard public buildings, allowing police to focus on dealing with “yellow vest” demonstrators in case of renewed violence in Paris and other cities, the government said on Wednesday.

The troops will be redeployed from the “Sentinelle” anti-terror operation, which patrols streets and protects airports, train stations, places of worship  and other sites, government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux told reporters.

READ ALSO

 

(Police have also been given new high tech crime fighting tools to deal with any possible trouble a protests. Photo: AFP)

This will allow police forces to “concentrate on crowd control, along with maintaining law and order,” he said. 

It was announced separately that Prime Minister Edouard Philippe had decided to put off a planned overseas trip to French Guiana at the weekend to be on hand at home.

“Given the special situation concerning public order, the premier decided to postpone his visit,” his office said.

Last Saturday, more than 5,000 police officers failed to stop hundreds of violent protesters from rampaging along the Champs-Elysees, burning and  looting over 100 businesses in a rampage that lasted more than seven hours.

After the rioting, the government sacked Paris police chief Michel Delpuech.

Two other top police officials, including one of Delpuech's aides, will also be removed from their positions, government sources told AFP.

The deployment of troops is intended to allow riot police to engage more aggressively with the far-left and far-right groups as well as anarchists who have been blamed for much of the violence.

But some police unions have warned that maintaining law and order was not the role of a soldier.

“I'm worried about how they'll respond in case of attack,” said Philippe Capon of the Unsa-Police union.

Troops were originally deployed on the streets in January 2015 after the massacre at the Charlie Hebdo magazine, and their patrols have become a regular sight in Paris and other cities.

The government has also announced plans to outlaw protests along the famed Champs-Elysees and other key areas if hooligans once again infiltrate the “yellow vest” demonstrations, which have taken place every Saturday since mid-November.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

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?

SHOW COMMENTS