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Paris stores looted, bank torched in new 'yellow vest' violence

PARIS: Demonstrators looted and torched stores and businesses at the famed Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris on Saturday, at the 18th straight weekend of "yellow vest" protests, characterized by means of an uptick in violence after weeks of dwindling turnout.

A Boss menswear store and the upscale Fouquet's restaurant — a brasserie popular with politicians and film stars — were some of the premises to have their home windows smashed by means of teams of hooded demonstrators in scenes harking back to the worst "yellow vest" riots in Paris in December.

The demonstrators also set hearth to a bank located at the flooring floor of an condo development, which used to be engulfed by means of flames. The hearth provider evacuated the citizens and extinguished the blaze. Eleven other people, including two hearth warring parties, suffered minor accidents, the hearth provider advised AFP.

A mom of four kids, including a nine-month-old child, advised AFP they escaped by the use of the stairs after seeing the hearth from their window.

Interior minister Christophe Castaner in a tweet accused the arsonists of being "neither demonstrators, nor trouble-makers" however "murderers".

Eighty-two other people were arrested by means of the early afternoon, the police mentioned.

The protests came a day after President Emmanuel Macron arrived in the southwestern Pyrenees mountains with his spouse Brigitte for a brief ski spoil, an AFP photographer reported.

"I'm going to spend two to three days here to rest and rediscover landscapes and faces that are dear to me," Macron advised La Depeche du Midi newspaper.

Saturday's turnout is a test for the "yellow vest" motion, which started in November over fuel tax hikes and briefly ballooned into a anti-government insurrection however has struggled in recent times to mobilise large numbers of protesters.

Last week, most effective round 28,000 other people demonstrated nationwide, according to the government, a tenth of the numbers that grew to become out for the inaugural protest on November 17.

The rally coincides with the end of the general public debates called by means of President Emmanuel Macron to take a look at take the warmth out of the protests and provides electorate a discussion board to propose policy changes.

Around part one million other people grew to become out at townhall-style conferences held across the nation during the last two months.

But many "yellow vests" pushed aside the consultation as a smoke-screen.

The police on Saturday used tear gas and water cannon to repel protesters who gathered at the foot of the Arc de Triomphe war memorial, which used to be sacked by means of protesters on December 1 in scenes that drew global condemnation.

Several information stands also went up in smoke as teams of mostly black-clad demonstrators pelted the security forces with stones and erected barricades.

"There are a number of people who have come just to smash things," Castaner mentioned, estimating that some 1,500 "ultra violent" activists had infiltrated the group of "between 7,000 and 8,000".

On social media, "yellow vest" leaders had hinted at the arrival of sympathisers from Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands or even Poland.

"Macron, we're coming to get you at home," one of the protesters chanted, relating to the presidential palace located close to the Champs-Elysees.

From early morning protesters started pouring into the capital by means of train and automotive from across the nation for what they called an "ultimatum" to Macron.

Over 5,000 police were deployed, along with a number of armoured police cars, and a number of other metro stations were closed.

Macron, who used to be stuck off guard when grassroots protesters started occupying visitors roundabouts in November over fuel taxes, has loosened the state's handbag strings to the song of 10 billion euros ($11.2 billion) to take a look at defuse the protests.

He also travelled the length and breadth of the rustic, attractive in marathon debates with native politicians and electorate.

But the measures failed to quell the anger of the demonstrators, who accuse the previous funding banker, of being in the pocket of the rich.

Laurent Casanova, an engineer who used to be some of the protesters on Saturday, advised AFP he sought after to mark the end of the debates.

"We have been patient but now we want results," he mentioned.

The protest used to be one in every of a number of planned in Paris on Saturday, where climate campaigners also gathered in their 1000's to demand Macron cross further on greening the economic system.

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