Police move in to confront protestors at the Place de Republique during a yellow vest demonstration in Paris, Saturday, April 20, 2019. (Photo: AP)
Masked protesters and helmeted riot police have clashed repeatedly in Paris amid tensions on the edges of a yellow vest protest.
Tear gas hung in the air throughout the afternoon Saturday around the Place de la Republique plaza in eastern Paris.
Radical protesters hurled paving stones and flares, attacked at least one boarded-up store, and set fire to a few vehicles. Police repeatedly charged as they tried to contain the crowd.
Associated Press reporters saw at least two journalists injured in the melee.
Meanwhile a separate, smaller crowd of yellow vests marched peacefully toward the cordoned-off neighborhood around the fire-damaged Notre Dame Cathedral. Young women skipped down a street along the Seine River with drummers and singers.
They are urging the French government not to forget the troubles of the poor even as it gathers millions to rebuild the cathedral.
A car, motorbikes and multiple barricades are ablaze in eastern Paris as a yellow vest protest has degenerated into scattered violence.
Paris firefighters are battling multiple small but impressive fires Saturday around the Place de la Republique. The smell of tear gas mixed with black smoke choking the air.
Associated Press reporters saw a car and motorbikes on fire and multiple volleys of tear gas and dispersion grenades, as riot police worked to control the crowd. Several protesters also set flares.
French television showed images of volunteer medics treating a yellow-vested protester lying on the ground.
While that neighborhood was tense, overall Saturday’s yellow vest actions have been peaceful. Many protesters are frustrated that the international effort to help fire-damaged Notre Dame Cathedral has eclipsed the five-month-old yellow vest movement against wealth inequality.
Protesters have set small fires and police have fired tear gas on the sidelines of yellow vest demonstrations in the French capital.
The Paris police headquarters said authorities detained 126 people by early afternoon and carried out spot checks of more than 11,000 people trying to enter the capital for Saturday’s protests.
Police fired tear gas amid tensions at a march of several thousand people from France’s Finance Ministry toward the Place de la Republique plaza in eastern Paris. Barricades were set ablaze at one spot, and branches set on fire elsewhere. Firefighters quickly responded to extinguish the flames.
The march was one of several actions around Paris and other French cities Saturday.
The protesters are angry at high taxes and economic injustice, and are largely peaceful. Some are also frustrated that the effort to save fire-damaged Notre Dame Cathedral is eclipsing the yellow vest movement’s demands.