Yellow Vests: French PM meets opposition after weekend of violent clashes

Paris police said 412 people were arrested on Saturday, with 378 remaining in custody

French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe canceled his appearance at the COP24 climate change summit in Katowice, Poland, on Monday, instead, he arranged meetings with French political leaders to formulate a response to the violent ‘yellow vest’ protests.

Philippe will announce new “measures” this week to defuse the crisis, which sparked the worst clashes in the capital since the uprising of May 1968.

The prime minister will also meet with spokespeople from the yellow vest movement on Tuesday afternoon.

President Emmanuel Macron held emergency talks with the prime minister, interior minister and top security service officials at the presidential palace in Paris after flying in from the G20 summit in Argentina on Sunday.

There will be a debate on the political situation at the National Assembly on Wednesday, followed by a debate in the Senate on Thursday. A planned visit by Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, to the National Assembly this week has been canceled as a result.

Finance minister Bruno Le Maire said on Monday that the government would be attempting to speed up tax cuts as well as decreases in public spending in order to respond as quickly as possible to the riots.

On Sunday Macron assessed the damage at the Arc de Triomphe, the massive monument to France’s war dead at the top of the famous Champs-Élysées avenue, where rioters scrawled graffiti and ransacked the ticketing and reception areas.

The president also saw the wreckage of burnt-out cars and debris from rioting at other sites, where he praised the police but was also booed by sections of the crowd.

Paris police said 412 people were arrested on Saturday, with 378 remaining in custody.

A total of 263 people were injured nationwide, with 133 injured in the capital, including 23 members of the security forces who battled rioters for most of the day in famous parts of the city.

“I will never accept violence,” Macron told a news conference in Buenos Aires before flying home.

“No cause justifies that authorities are attacked, that businesses are plundered, that passers-by or journalists are threatened or that the Arc du Triomphe is defiled,” he said.

‘Yellow Vests will win’

Overnight a motorist died after crashing a van into traffic that had built up due to a “Yellow Vest” demonstration in Arles, southern France, a local prosecutor said Sunday. Three people have now died in incidents linked to the protests.

The so-called “Yellow Vest” anti-government protests that have swept France over the last fortnight were sparked initially by a rise in taxes on diesel.

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