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After Riots, France Makes Change on Yellow Vest Protests

Some will be banned after Saturday's violence
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 18, 2019 5:00 PM CDT
Bystanders take snapshots of the smashed windows of the famed tea salon Laduree on the Champs Elysees the day after it was vandalized during the 18th straight weekend of demonstrations by the yellow vests,...   (AP Photo/Rafael Yaghobzadeh)
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(Newser) – France's prime minister announced a ban Monday on yellow vest protests along the Champs-Elysees Avenue in Paris and in two other cities following riots on Saturday that left luxury stores ransacked and charred from arson fires, the AP reports. Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said the ban will apply for an unspecified period in the neighborhoods that have been "the most impacted" in the cities of Paris, Bordeaux and Toulouse, where repeated destruction has occurred since the yellow vest protest movement began in November. He also said Paris police chief Michel Delpuech will be replaced this week by prefect Didier Lallement.

Philippe acknowledged "dysfunction" in French police operations during the violence on Saturday, rejecting "inappropriate" orders given to security forces to use fewer rubber bullets following a controversy about the numerous injuries they've caused at previous protests. He also announced a shift in security strategy to allow police forces to have a greater initiative on the ground to take measures against rioters and disperse crowds. He said police will use new tools, including drones and video surveillance, to help preventing violence and send rioters to trial. Philippe promised "nothing will change" for other peaceful, authorized protests. The surge in violence came as the 4-month-old yellow vest movement, which is pressing for more economic justice, has been dwindling. But the renewed attention energized some protesters, who took to social networks to call for new protests this Saturday to demand lower taxes and more support for workers. (The riots left a mother and child trapped in a burning bank.)


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