Riot police responded to "yellow vest" protests in Paris on Saturday, April 20, reportedly firing tear gas and stun grenades in a bid to disperse demonstrators as tensions ran high during a march to the Place de la République. According to police, 189 people had been detained in the capital by the afternoon (local time) and authorities had carried out some 17,000 spot checks on people joining the protests. Some sporadic clashes between protesters and police continued into the early evening, but the situation was largely calm by 18:00.
Although protests were concentrated in Paris, related demonstrations also took place in other French cities, including Bordeaux, Lille, Toulouse, Lyon, and Montpellier. French officials reported that a total of 9600 people participated in protests across the country (6700 of them in Paris) on April 20.
Additional "yellow vest" protests are to be expected across France over the coming weeks, particularly on Saturdays. A heightened security presence is anticipated near related demonstrations. Localized transportation and business disruptions are likely near protest sites, and clashes between security forces and protesters cannot be ruled out.
The "yellow vest" movement began on November 17, 2018, to protest rising fuel prices and a planned fuel tax. It has since grown to encompass a number of popular grievances against the French government. Some protests have turned violent and acts of vandalism and looting have been reported, although the scale of the protests has diminished since their height in December. Demonstrations have continued despite French government proposals to address protesters' concerns.
Individuals in France are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all protests due to the risk of violence, budget extra time to reach their destinations if traveling through areas affected by demonstrations, and adhere to any instructions issued by the local authorities.
Copyright and Disclaimer