France’s Interior Ministry says 1,220 people were taken into custody around France during the latest yellow vest protests — a roundup the scale of which the country hasn’t seen in years.
Police frisked protesters Saturday at train stations around the country, confiscating everything from heavy metal petanque balls to tennis rackets — anything that could remotely be used as a weapon.
The Eiffel Tower and Louvre Museum reopened Sunday after closing amid Saturday’s rioting. Shops assessed looting damage Sunday and cleared out broken glass, after shutting down on Saturday at the height of the holiday shopping season.
Fierce winds and rain pummeled Paris overnight, complicating Sunday’s cleanup efforts. Used tear gas canister lids lay scattered on the cobblestones of the Champs-Elysees.
In the melee Saturday, protesters had ripped off the plywood protecting Parisian store windows and threw flares and other projectiles. French riot police repeatedly repelled them with tear gas and water cannon.
Paris monuments reopened, cleanup workers cleared debris and shop owners tried to put the city on its feet again Sunday, a day after running battles between yellow-vested protesters and riot police left 71 injured and caused widespread damage to the French capital.
The man who unleashed the anger, President Emmanuel Macron, broke his silence to tweet his appreciation for the police overnight, but pressure mounted on him to propose new solutions to calm the anger dividing France.
The number of injured in Paris and nationwide was down Saturday from protest riots a week ago, and most of the capital remained untouched, but the violence in neighborhoods popular with tourists is tarnishing the country’s image.
Exceptional police deployment failed to deter determined protesters, and some 125,000 took to the streets Saturday around France with a bevy of ever-expanding demands related to the country’s high living costs.
Police and protesters also clashed in other French cities, notably Marseille, Toulouse and Bordeaux, and in neighboring Belgium. Some protesters took aim at the French border with Italy. Some 135 people were injured nationwide, including the 71 in Paris.
Saturday’s protests were a direct blow to Macron, who made a stunning decision last week to abandon the fuel tax rise that initially prompted the protest movement a month ago. His turnaround damaged his credibility with climate defenders and foreign investors — yet did nothing to cool tempers of the “gilets jaunes,” the nickname for the crowds wearing the fluorescent yellow vests that all French motorists must keep in the cars.
The disparate movement now has other demands, from taxing the rich to raising the minimum wage and Macron’s resignation.