French government faces heavy criticism failing to maintain law & order after ‘yellow vest’ looting rampage with Champs-Elysees

Protesters wearing yellow vests, a symbol of a French drivers' protest against higher diesel taxes, gather at the Place de l'Etoile near the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France, December 1, 2018. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

The French government has faced a heavy criticism on Sunday over repeatedly failing to maintain law and order in the country during a looting rampage and arson by the “yellow vest” protesters with the Champs-Elysees, a local association with 180 members, most of the businesses, in Paris.

According to Dawn news reports, around 80 businesses and shops along with the avenue were fully vandalized on Saturday when yellow vest protesters demonstrated on the streets and ran amok, with around 20 torched or looted, according to retailers.

Saturday’s demonstrations were prompted by a sharp hike in violence after several weeks dwindling turnout.

Saturday’s protest was the 18th consecutive weekend of yellow vest’s demonstrations which has begun in last year’s mid-November against the hike in fuel prices but they turned into a potential anti-government movement against President Emmanuel Macron.

Jean-Noel Reinhardt, head of the Committee Champs-Elysees, said, “There was a wave of violence, we’re dealing with the aftermath of the chaos. We’re trying to reassure all the employees and then there are those who live here, too.”

Reinhardt said business aowners and residents were pushing their efforts for talks with nation’s Prime Minister Edouard Philippe in order ‘to share our exasperation and explain our complaints”. He insisted, “The authorities must put an end to this situation.”

Champs-Elysees has been the focal point for the demonstrations which have turned violent, sparking a running battle between protesters and police.

Protesters demonstrated at the Arc de Triomphe war memorial, where police used stun grenades, tear gas as well as water cannons to repel protesters.

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