Thousands Slammed by Tear Gas, Water Cannons

Demonstrators oppose fuel taxes in Paris
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 24, 2018 10:30 AM CST

(Newser) – French police fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse demonstrators in Paris Saturday, as thousands gathered in the capital and staged road blockades across the nation to vent anger against rising fuel taxes and Emmanuel Macron's presidency, the AP reports. Thousands of police were deployed nationwide to contain the demonstrations, including a tense protest at the foot of the Champs-Elysees where protesters wielded placards reading "Death to Taxes" and upturned a large vehicle. No one was injured in the clashes, but six were arrested for "throwing projectiles," per Paris police. "It's going to trigger a civil war and me, like most other citizens, we're all ready," says Benjamin Vrignaud, a 21-year-old protester from Chartres.

The famed avenue was speckled from the early morning in neon—owing to the color of the vests the myriad self-styled "yellow jacket" protesters don. French drivers are required to keep neon security vests in their vehicles. Five thousand protesters flooded the Champs-Elysees alone, with 23,000 protesters in total nationwide, according to Interior Minister Christophe Castaner. In a week of demonstrations that has dominated national news coverage, hundreds have been injured and two people died in accidents stemming from the protests. The unrest is proving a major challenge for embattled Macron, who's suffering in the polls and the focus of rage for the demonstrators, who accuse the pro-business centrist of indifference to the struggles of ordinary French. (Here's what happened in a recent French protest when a driver panicked.)

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