Climate protesters marched through Paris over the weekend in a rally that saw sporadic clashes between anarchist "black bloc" protesters and police who also broke up yellow vest groups trying to stage unauthorized gatherings in the capital. Police had made 163 arrests in Paris by late afternoon and earlier in the day pushed back around one hundred protesters who gathered on the Champs-Élysées shopping avenue, the Paris police prefecture said.
The number of police deployed for Saturday's rallies are on a par with the peak of the yellow vest protests in December and March. The climate protest drew some 16,000 participants, according to the police, a day after several thousand young people had turned out in Paris, as in other cities worldwide, to demand government action over climate change. Demonstrators carried signs with slogans such as "End oil now" and "End of the world" and displayed an effigy of President Emmanuel Macron wearing a crown marked "King of bla-bla." Some demonstrators held an unauthorized march to Bastille square in the early evening.
The yellow vest movement erupted 10 months ago and blindsided President Emmanuel Macron, whom protesters accuse of being out of touch with the needs of ordinary French people. The weekly demonstrations around France, Saturday was the 45th, prompted Macron to loosen the state's purse strings to the tune of nearly 17 billion euros ($18.8 billion) in wage boosts and tax cuts for low earners. The demonstrations tapered off over the summer, and it remains to be seen whether the movement will regain the momentum of last winter and early spring, when the protests often descended into violent clashes with security forces, especially in Paris.