- Paris bus, train and metro transport disrupted
- Violence takes over 'yellow vest' protests
- 189 arrests by 5pm Saturday
Act 23 of the “yellow vest” protest movement in Paris has been marred by the violence authorities had predicted would happen, with a total of 227 arrests, cars and public property set on fire and tear gas and water cannons fired by police.
By 3pm, there had been 137 arrests and 14,000 searches carried out by police.
By comparison, Act 22 saw a total of 15 arrests and 5,885 searches at around the same time of day.
Most of the altercations took place around the Place de la Repubique area in the early afternoon.
Police asked non-violent “yellow vest” protesters to disassociate themselves from those causing trouble.
Des groupes violents se sont constitués dans le cortège à proximité de la place de la République, désolidarisez vous de ces groupes, laissez les forces de l'ordre et de secours intervenir. pic.twitter.com/zl9mcgukHi
— Préfecture de police (@prefpolice) April 20, 2019
Anywhere between 1,500 and 2,000 'ultra-jaunes' radical protesters were expected to descend on the city during Act 23 of weekend 'yellow vest' protests.
Only two of the four demonstrations that were organized had been approved by city authorities.
The first, which started roughly around midday, saw thousands of 'yellow vests' march through the Paris neighbourhood of Bercy in the 12th arrondissement, home to country's Ministry of Finance.
The second left from Saint-Denis basilica in the Paris suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis at 1pm.
By 11am local time, 70 people had already been arrested in central Paris. According to police figures, by 1.30pm that number had gone up to 126 arrests. Officers had also carried out 11,000 searches by 1pm.
Paris bore the brunt of Saturday's protests, but othe French cities such as Toulouse in the south also experienced tensions between protesters and police.
Earlier this month, French President Emmanuel Macron signed into law legislation that gave security forces greater powers at demonstrations but which opponents claimed violated civil liberties.
One measure banned protestors from covering their faces, but France's Constitutional Council, its highest constitutional authority, refused to give its green light to one of the most contentious parts of the legislation.
It would also have given the authorities the power to ban from
demonstrations any individual “posing a particularly serious threat to public order”.
— Snae (@snae_bpkc) April 20, 2019
The first incidences of group violence were recorded at around 1pm, with a small group of protesters setting fire to public property. Police have also used tear gas to disperse some of the crowds.
— Deutsch365 (@deutsch365) April 20, 2019
Since early Saturday morning, there’s been a large police presence in the French capital, including at least six armoured vehicles.
— Taha ? (@DrMomour) April 20, 2019
Numerous Paris metro stations were closed on Saturday since early morning:
– Line 1 between La Défense and Châtelet
– Line 6 between Charles de Gaulle-Etoile and Trocadero
– Line 8 between La Motte-Picquet Grenelle and Richelieu-Drouot
– Line 9 between Trocadero and Saint Augustine
– Line 12 between Sèvres Babylone and Saint-Lazare
– Line 13 between Duroc and Saint-Lazare
Other metro stops that were affected by the protests included Victor Hugo, Charles de Gaulle-Etoile and Ternes on line 2; Palais Royal-Louvre on line 7, Madeleine on line 14, Opera on line 3 and 7 and Pyramides on line 7 and 14.
Several bridges in central Paris were also blocked off.
Two RER stations were closed: Charles-De-Gaulle-Etoile on line A and Invalides on line C.
Bus traffic was also disrupted, unfortunately on the day that Paris launched a new network with lots of route changes.