Protesters in yellow jackets storm Paris during violent demonstration

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Protests in Paris erupted in violence on Saturday as hundreds of rioters took to the streets amid a heavy police presence and clouds of tear gas to repel protesters.Videos uploaded to Twitter showed rioters in black stomping on a parked car and later setting it on fire. Another video showed an elderly man intervening to prevent a rioter from smashing a car, before being pushed to the ground by the rioter.

As of 1 p.m. KST, police had made more than 150 arrests, mostly for concealed weapons, according to a tweet from Paris police which also showed an image of the knives, sticks and mallets they had seized from protesters.

Black-clad anarchists who rampaged through the city streets mingled with hundreds of peaceful protesters calling for social justice and increased environmental protection.

Jean-Marie Bigard, actor and self-proclaimed presidential candidate for the Gilets Jaunes, or Yellow Jackets, was booed by members of the Yellow Jackets during one of the marches in Paris, and called a “collaborator” after being away from one of the leaders who called the police “Nazis”. Bigard had to take refuge in a cafe after protesters threatened him, according to French media.

The national day of protests was called by the movement after a hiatus during the coronavirus lockdown. Several hundred demonstrators gathered near two squares in Paris, where shops had been surrounded with plywood in anticipation of authorized marches. Police had banned the group’s protests two years ago when riots against the government of French President Emmanuel Macron turned violent.

The Yellow Vest movement began among workers camped at roundabouts to protest an increase in fuel taxes in 2018. They wore the yellow vests that French drivers are forced to keep in their vehicles in case of emergency. The movement quickly turned into a crusade for environmental and social justice, with protesters calling for a higher tax on the rich and an end to the Macron government.

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