At least 59 people have been arrested in Paris after scuffles broke out between Yellow Vests and police on Saturday. The protests have gained new momentum fueled by a nationwide strike against the pension reform.
Thousands of anti-government protesters flooded the streets of the French capital, Paris, on Saturday, chanting slogans to berate the sweeping social security system reforms initiated by the pro-business government of French President Emmanuel Macron.
The march led by Yellow Vests protesters in downtown Paris was marred by violence, and saw police using batons and tear gas on activists, who, in turn, hurled flyers.
Videos posted on social media show officers in full riot gear beating up protesters as they lay on the ground. The footage prompted activists to accuse police of using disproportionate force to quell the unrest.
Au lieu de restaurer la confiance entre l'État et les citoyens avec des référendums d'initiative citoyenne (#RIC) demandés par une large majorité de Français, l'oligarchie se cramponne au pouvoir et use de violence. Cela entraînera sa chute.#GiletsJaunespic.twitter.com/N06BNE0zFA— Collectif Carton jaune (@collCartonJaune) January 18, 2020
Police said that they have made 59 arrests as of 8 p.m. local time, noting that officers had to “systematically intervene” to stop “abuses committed by violent groups.”
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Yellow Vests have been taking to the French streets every weekend since November 2018. While at one moment the demonstrators saw their numbers dwindling, an ongoing nation-wide strike against pension reforms which kicked off in December has reinvigorated the protest movement.
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