PARIS, France – French police fired tear gas at protesters during a tense standoff in central Paris on Sunday, July 14, in the aftermath of the annual Bastille Day military parade on the Champs-Elysees, Agence France-Presse reporters said.
Officers attempted to disperse dozens of protesters, who chanted anti-government slogans, knocked down security barriers erected for the parade, and set fire to refuse bins.
France, in particular Paris, has been rocked since late last year by the “yellow vest” protest movement against the government of President Emmanuel Macron.
Sunday’s violence was the worst seen in central Paris since March. Many analysts had believed that the yellow vest movement had lost momentum.
But the demonstrators in central Paris were not wearing the yellow vests that marked out the movement. Police had earlier not allowed those wearing the garments past barriers and some had carried yellow balloons instead.
The clashes tarnished the July 14 national day that commemorates the 1789 storming of the Bastille fortress in Paris during the French Revolution and is marked every year by a military parade.
Macron sought to showcase European military cooperation in the parade, hosting key EU leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
Earlier some protesters had jeered and whistled at Macron as he stood in an open-top command car alongside France’s chief of staff General Francois Lecointre.
Before the current clashes erupted, Paris authorities said 152 people had been detained.
But the parade, which wrapped up at lunchtime, then passed without any hitch. – Rappler.com