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YELLOW VEST

Paris police ban yellow vests from protesting near ‘fragile’ Notre-Dame

'Yellow vest' protesters in Paris have been told they will be banned from the area around the fire-damaged Notre-Dame cathedral.

Paris police ban yellow vests from protesting near 'fragile' Notre-Dame
This will be the first demo since Macron's plans were leaked. Photo: AFP

The 'yellow vests' will be holding their 23rd week of protests on Saturday, with a large demonstration planned in Paris.

But they have been told they cannot congregate in the area around fire-damaged Notre-Dame cathedral.


Fire-damaged structure is too fragile, say police. Photo: AFP

The ban will be in place all day Saturday, a police statement said, following Monday's devastating fire at the world famous landmark.

“No protest demonstration can be held” in the area due to the fragility of the building, the statement said.

They will also be banned from the Champs-Elysees avenue and the area around the presidential Elysee Palace, as has been the case for the past month.

This Saturday was to have been the first protest to be held since French president Emmanuel Macron announced what measures he would take in response to the months of sometimes violent protests demanding help with the cost of living for ordinary French people.

In the event, Macron did not deliver the speech as planned on Monday night, and instead rushed to the scene at Notre-Dame.

However his pre-recorded speech was leaked to French media, so most 'yellow vests' now have an idea of his plans, which include tax cuts for middle income earners, an end to school and hospital closures in rural areas and scrapping the prestigious École Nationale d'Administration for civil servants, which is widely seen as a breeding ground for the elite.

The plans were the result of months of 'town hall' style debates and online consultations where people could air their grievances.

It remains to be seen whether the protesters feel that he has gone far enough.

 

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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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