Paris, Feb 10 : A yellow vest protester has suffered a horrific hand injury in Paris as violent demonstrations continue for the 13th consecutive weekend across France. The injury has been linked to some form of projectile thrown during the commotion.
Chaos broke out near the Champs-Elysees and the National Assembly on Saturday, with the demonstrators set to continue through the streets before ending at the Eiffel Tower.
According to French government figures, 51,400 people joined the protests on Saturday, 4,000 of them in Paris. That was down from the previous week, when official figures put the number at 58,600, 10,500 in the capital city.
In Paris, the protesters marched from the Champs-Elysees to the city’s Parliament buildings, where a violent contingent broke down barriers and threw projectiles at police.
The police responded with tear gas and anti-riot munitions.
Tens of thousands of protesters turned out in other parts of France, including the port cities of Marseille and Montpellier and also in Bordeaux and Toulouse in the southwest.
The head of France’s National Assembly, Richard Ferrand’s residence was also attacked though it was not clear if the attack was linked to the protests.
Ferrand published pictures on Twitter of his scorched living room, writing: “Nothing justifies intimidations and violence towards an elected official of the Republic.”
What began as anti-fuel tax protests in November 2018, the yellow vests – who owe their sobriquet to the high-visibility jackets the protesters wear – have since morphed into catch-all demonstrations against the French government and President Emmanuel Macron.
But since the government decided to delay the increase in fuel taxes and Macron announced measures favouring purchasing power, the number of participants has dropped radically.
Their demands, however, have multiplied, with yellow vests carrying posters calling for “Frexit” – the exit of France from the European Union – while others were looking for “a better world” and some also requesting Macron’s resignation.