French police battle ‘yellow vest’ protesters then Algeria football fans in tense Bastille Day

French police were involved in running battles with first 'yellow vest' protesters then Algeria football fans on Sunday.

French police battle 'yellow vest' protesters then Algeria football fans in tense Bastille Day
Fires on the Champs-Elysées. Photo: AFP

Trouble first flared in Paris after the traditional Bastille Day military parade on the Champs-Elysées when a small group of 'yellow vest' protesters staged a demonstration.

The demonstrators – believed to be members of the violent 'black bloc' sometimes associated with the yellow vest movement – occupied the upper part of the Champs-Elysées and built a barricade from the metal barriers that had been used to limit the movements of spectators for the military parade.
Fires were started on the Champs-Elysées after the Bastille Day parade. Photo: AFP
Bins and street furniture were set alight by the rioters, some of whom were pictured equipped with gas masks, protective goggles and black clothing. A few shop windows were broken in streets near the avenue and the glass of a bus shelter was destroyed.
Police fired tear gas at protesters and at least 150 people were arrested, including 'yellow vest' leaders Eric Drouet, Maxime Nicolle and Jérôme Rodrigues, who were arrested earlier in the day in an area near the Champs-Elysées. Yellow vest demonstrations have been banned on the famed Paris avenue since violence and looting erupted there during a protest in March.
'Black bloc' protesters in Paris. Photo: AFP
Troubled flared again later in the day, the time from football fans after Algeria beat Nigeria to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations final.
After Algeria scored the winning goal in the dying seconds of the match, thousands of fans poured out onto the streets to celebrate, but there were incidents in Paris, Lyon and Marseille and police say that in total 282 people were arrested overnight.
The worst troubled appears to have been in Marseille, where thousands of Algeria fans were watching the match on the Boulevard de la Canebière.
Algeria supporters in Marseille. Photo: AFP
After the winning the goal, hundreds tried to descend on the Old Port area of the city, where the traditional Bastille Day fireworks display was just finishing.
Police blocked their way and there were several clashes where fans were seen to throw stones and firecrackers.
Later in the night bins were set on fire and several bus shelters were demolished.
French police said that 50 people were arrested in Paris and 147 in the Lyon area – where dozens of cars were torched overnight.
Interior Minister Christophe Castaner on Monday congratulated police and firemen for their “speedy reaction and professionalism which contained the violence and to the perpetrators” being apprehended.


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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?