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Yellow Vests: Incidents on the Champs-Elysées, Several Arrests

This Saturday 1st December is marked by a new day of mobilisation of yellow vests, in the region and in Paris, where the event on the Champs-Elysees is very tense.

Third Saturday of national mobilization for the yellow Vests  : the movement maintains the pressure on the government by calling to protest everywhere in the country and in particular on the Champs-Elysées , where incidents had erupted a week ago.

First incidents

First and brief incidents broke out this Saturday in Paris on the top of the Champs-Elysees, AFP reporters said.

Around 8:45, a first incident erupted at the top of the Avenue des Champs-Elysees, the police sending tear gas to disperse the crowd, noted an AFP journalist. Protesters had tried to force a checkpoint on the top of the avenue, police said.

Clashes between police and "yellow vests" on the Champs-Elysées, December 1, 2018 in Paris.
Clashes between police and “yellow vests” on the Champs-Elysées, December 1, 2018 in Paris. (© AFP / Alain JOCARD)

Shortly before 8am, a few hundred people were already gathered at the foot of the Arc de Triomphe, dressed in yellow vest symbolic of their challenge. Others were already wearing masks to protect themselves from tear gas, in front of an imposing CRS barrier that completely blocked the avenue.


Closed to traffic, the avenue, the expected epicenter of the mobilization, was filled with CRS trucks and pedestrian access was subject to a tight grid with identity checks and bag searches. Two people were arrested for carrying prohibited weapons, according to a police source.

Among the demonstrators, Philippe, cook in a high school of Essonne, manifested for the first time. “With all the increase in taxes, there is not much left to peck at the end of the month,” he told AFP.

A policeman inspects the bag of a passerby on December 1, 2018 on the Champs-Elysees, Paris.
A policeman inspects the bag of a passerby on December 1, 2018 on the Champs-Elysees, Paris. (© AFP / Lucas BARIOULET)

Difficult dialogue

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner and his Secretary of State Laurent Nuñez went to the Champs-Élysées at around 8:30 am to “greet” the police.

Destabilised, the government is still struggling to establish a dialogue with this protean movement. On Friday, a meeting in Matignon with Prime Minister Edouard Philippe turned into a fiasco : only two yellow jackets participated and one of them quickly left the scene for not having obtained that the meeting is broadcast live.

An ever dynamic movement

Fifteen days after the birth certificate of the Yellow Vests, the authorities will watch carefully the magnitude of the mobilisation Saturday. The first national day, November 17, had 282,000 people, and the second 106,000 according to official figures.

Despite the announcement by the head of state Emmanuel Macron of next steps to respond to the “legitimate anger” of the demonstrators, the movement that has spread out of any union or political framework still shows signs of dynamism.

The petition launched by one of the figures of Yellow Vests “for a drop in fuel prices” has exceeded one million signatories and the mobilisation remains supported by a large majority of French, according to polls.

"Yellow vest" in front of the Arc de Triomphe, November 24, 2018 in Paris.
“Yellow vest” in front of the Arc de Triomphe, November 24, 2018 in Paris. (© AFP / Archives / Lucas BARIOULET)

The fear of clashes

Saturday, the epicenter of the mobilisation should once again be located on the Champs-Elysées, which will be pedestrianised from 6 am and will be subject to a grid “hermetic”, according to the Minister of the Interior Christophe Castaner Anyone who wants to go there will have to undergo an identity check and a search.

For fear of incidents, wooden panels were already affixed Friday on some windows while the furniture was cleared to prevent it from being used as a projectile.

The police could mobilise about 5,000 men from the mobile forces in the capital, where there is also a demonstration of the CGT and a rally against rising fees for foreign students.

“We know that the ultra-left and the ultra-right (…) are mobilized to come again break,” said Thursday Mr. Castaner.

On November 24, the Paris demonstration had taken a violent turn, with throws of pavement to which the police had replicated with tear gas and water lances. A total of 103 people were arrested and several dozen have since been brought to justice.

The damage reaches “already more than a million euros,” said France Bleu Paris Colombe Brossel, deputy mayor of Paris in charge of Security.


Demonstration on the Champs-Elysees of "yellow vests" against the rise in taxes and the decline in purchasing power, November 24, 2018 in Paris
Demonstration on the Champs-Elysees of “yellow vests” against the rise in taxes and the decline in purchasing power, November 24, 2018 in Paris. (© AFP / Archives / Bertrand GUAY)

A sustained movement

Despite these incidents, the movement continues to garner support very diverse.

Three suburban collectives called on Saturday to join the “yellow vests” in Paris to defend the “popular neighborhoods”, including Banlieues respect, created in 2005 during urban riots, and the Adama committee.

On the side of the extreme, the French Action told AFP wait at least 300 supporters on the Champs-Elysees while the group of identity “The Social Bastion” invites its “adherents” to visit the capital.

A “gathering of artists” is also planned in front of the Olympia Hall at 2 pm, on the initiative of humorist Gérald Dahan: “The brave people are moving, peacefully,” he says, but “Suffer the amalgamation with the thugs, and with the extremes”.

President Emmanuel Macron addresses the French community on 29 November 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
President Emmanuel Macron addresses the French community on 29 November 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (© AFP / Ludovic MARIN)

“Blind” radars

Elsewhere in France, the yellow vests invite their support for many actions against institutions, walling the tax centers or “blinding” the radars.

Demonstrations and blockages are also planned in several cities such as Bordeaux, the toll of Saint-Selve on the A62, the prefecture of Agen, the island of Oléron, Toulouse or Pau.

The anger, initially turned against fuel prices before extending to purchasing power, is particularly strong in Reunion, where the Minister of Overseas Annick Girardin had to be exfiltrated by his police service Friday while In La Ciotat, nine people were taken into custody after clashes at a toll.

The grumbling has spread beyond the borders since in Brussels, two police vehicles were burned Friday at the end of a demonstration of about 300 “yellow vests”, the first of its kind organized in the Belgian capital.

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