The “Yellow Vests” participate in their first “national day of action” since the protest movement was suspended due to COVID-19[feminine[feminine. Their last rally was on March 14 – three days before France went into lockdown.
Officers in riot gear have already fired tear gas at protesters along Avenue de Wagram in Paris’ 17th arrondissement, while another march takes place in front of the capital stock exchange.
Among the 6⃣8⃣ arrests, since the start of the day, are the holders of these objects that have no place in a demonstration:
➡️ Screwdriver, ice ax, wire cutters, hood, knives, bow. pic.twitter.com/ElrMmClHAs
– Police Prefecture (@prefpolice) September 12, 2020
Police have banned protests spreading to the nearby Champs-Elysees after its famous Arc de Triomphe monument was degraded on previous yellow vest marches – but crowds are still expected to gather there later.
Officers said they confiscated hammers, screwdrivers, masks and empty bottles of Jack Daniels whiskey, making 154 arrests as of 1 p.m. local time. A car was also set on fire.
Didier Lallement, prefect of Paris police, urged protesters “not to break things” and to respect social distancing measures in a context of coronavirus infection rate.
The number of new cases of COVID-19 in France increased by 9,406 in 24 hours until Friday, reaching 363,350 today, according to the country’s health ministry.
The number of deaths also increased by 40 in one day to a total of 30,893. France has the seventh highest death rate in the world.
Other demonstrations of yellow vests are taking place in the French cities of Marseille, Nice, Lyon, Lille, Nantes and Strasbourg, among others.
The protest movement began in 2018 – with marches taking place for 70 consecutive Saturdays before the coronavirus lockdown – over fuel tax increases and other reforms by President Macron’s government.