French President Emmanuel Macron is considering banning all demonstrations on the Champs Elysees after "yellow vest" rioters wrecked the iconic Parisian avenue last weekend, an official from the president's office said Monday.
On Saturday, protesters related with the "yellow vest" movement burned down the famous Fouquet's restaurant on the Champs Elysees as well as several newspaper stands, a Longchamp luxury goods shop and vehicles.
Following Saturday's riots, that were reminiscent of violent clashes last December on the Champs Elysees between protesters and police, Macron summoned a meeting with the interior and justice ministers on Monday.
Police appeared overwhelmed last weekend as demonstrators ran amok on the avenue, with retailers there saying some 80 shops and businesses were vandalised.
French government admits security flaws in violent Paris riots and says its security measures had been "insufficient" to stem an arson and looting rampage by black-clad anarchists during a "yellow vest" protest along the famous Champs-Elysees in Paris. Prime Minister Edouard Philippe acknowledged Sunday there had been security "flaws" which needed to be rectified.
"Analysis of Saturday's events highlights that the measures taken were insufficient to contain the violence and prevent wrongdoing" by the rioters, the premier's office said, adding that Philippe was due to meet President Emmanuel Macron on Monday morning.
Already under political pressure, Macron - who cut short a skiing trip to rush back to the capital for a crisis meeting late Saturday
- has vowed "strong" action.
Retailers have expressed dismay over the 18th consecutive weekend of potent anti-government rallies. Last weekend's turnout was characterised by a sharp uptick in violence after weeks of dwindling turnout.
"It feels like this will never end," said Emir Fatnassi whose shop front on the Champs-Elysees was smashed in by rioters.
"You can protest but why destroy everything? Repairing the windows will cost at least 25,000 euros, and an important part of merchandise is gone."
Neither pariahs nor terrorists
"There's been a surge of violence," said Jean-Noel Reinhardt, head of the Committee Champs-Elysees, a local association with 180 members.
"The authorities must put an end to this situation," he insisted Sunday.
Chaos broke out last weekend when groups of so-called "black bloc" protesters swarmed the Champs-Elysees, vandalising and later setting fire to Fouquet's brasserie, a favourite hangout of the rich and famous for the past century - as well as luxury handbag store Longchamp. Clothing outlets Hugo Boss, Lacoste and Celio were also damaged, as well as a bank, a chocolatier and several newsstands.
Police used tear gas, stun grenades and water cannon to repel protesters who gathered at the foot of the Arc de Triomphe war memorial, which had already been sacked on December 1. But for seven hours, they continued to be pelted with paving stones.
"Yellow vest" representatives on Sunday called on Interior Minister Christophe Castaner to quit over the government's failure to contain the black bloc.
They accuse the anarchists of hijacking the peaceful weekly demonstrations.
"We are neither pariahs nor terrorists," Thierry-Paul Valette, co-founder of the "Yellow Vest Citizens" group, said in a statement.
A judicial source said 200 people, including 15 minors, were held in custody after Saturday's events. Socialist mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo said she was waiting for "an explanation" from the government, declaring herself "really angry" at the "unprecedented violence".
"We should be able to master a situation like the one we have just witnessed," she told Le Parisien newspaper.
"Enough is enough. And this Saturday went too far!" raged Bernard Stalter, president of CMA France, a national network of chambers of trades and crafts.
Back in November, Macron was caught off guard when grassroots protesters began occupying traffic roundabouts over fuel taxes. He has loosened the state's purse strings to the tune of 10 billion euros to try to defuse the rallies. But the measures failed to quell the anger of the demonstrators, who accuse the former investment banker of being elitist and favouring the rich.
Opposition parties on Sunday took aim at the government's failure to deal with the violence on the streets. Far-right leader Marine Le Pen accused the government of shutting down far-right pressure groups while failing to deal with the ultra-left.
Meanwhile, Xavier Bertrand, the leader of France's northern region, said the government should not be afraid "to use force and the force of law."
Since mid-November, the "yellow vests" protesters a group that originally demanded fuel tax cuts but has since morphed into a general opposition movement against the government have held demonstrations every Saturday in the French capital.
Please click to read our informative text prepared pursuant to the Law on the Protection of Personal Data No. 6698 and to get information about the cookies used on our website in accordance with the relevant legislation.
6698 sayılı Kişisel Verilerin Korunması Kanunu uyarınca hazırlanmış aydınlatma metnimizi okumak ve sitemizde ilgili mevzuata uygun olarak kullanılan çerezlerle ilgili bilgi almak için lütfen tıklayınız.