French Riots: Worst since 1960s

French Riots: Worst since 1960s. By Peter Allen.

Graffiti was removed from the Arc de Triomphe today after anti-Macron protesters stormed through Paris on Saturday.

The protesters occupied the city centre and torched cars, smashed windows with clubs and axes and stole an assault rifle from riot police firing tear gas and water cannon in France’s worst urban rioting for years.

The French President — who faced calls to resign from protesters who scrawled anti-Macron slogans on the Arc de Triomphe — today vowed to bring the rioters to justice as he inspected wreckage on the Champs-Elysees.

The ‘yellow vest’ protests, which began as a rebellion against a fuel tax hike but have expanded into weeks of civil unrest, spread across the country yesterday and ended with 133 people injured, including 23 police officers, and 412 arrested last night. …

A government spokesman said it was ‘out of the question that each weekend becomes a meeting or ritual for violence’ after a second consecutive Saturday ended in violent carnage in Paris. …

Protesters said the riots yesterday were the ‘start of a revolution’, in violence which echoed the near-revolution of 1968. …

Sixteen identity check points and police barricades had been set up on the Champs Elysees for the first time in its history in an attempt to avoid rioting but the measures failed to halt the anarchy in Paris. …

The unrest has no leaders, so cannot be decapitated:

The French government has faced difficulties dealing with the protesters as the movement has no real leadership and has not aligned itself with any political organisation.

Macron has sought to douse the anger by promising three months of nationwide talks on turning France into a low-carbon economy without penalising the poor. …

The protests have caught Macron off guard just as he was trying to counter a fall in his popularity rating to 30 per cent. His unyielding response has exposed him to charges of being out of touch with ordinary people.