Yellow vest protests became particularly violent on Saturday as firefighters fought several fires amid clouds of tear gas in eastern Paris.
Protesters set ablaze a car, motorbikes and barricades near the Place de la République as they took to the streets of Paris and other French cities for the 23rd Saturday in a row, The Associated Press reported. This time they say they are absolutely enraged that the government could raise more than a billion dollars to help restore the burned Notre Dame cathedral while their demands to fight wealth inequality remain overlooked.
By late afternoon, police were firing tear gas and water cannons to disperse a tense crowd of several thousand people around France’s finance ministry. Firefighters acted fast to put out several small fires in the area. NPR’s Eleanor Beardsley reports from the scene that emergency personnel carried out the wounded on stretchers.
French police detained 189 people and took 110 into temporary custody. The Interior Ministry says there were 6,700 protesters in Paris and more than 10,000 across country.
While the number of protesters have dwindled in recent weeks, French officials had warned that the marches could attract more protesters following the shock and sadness of the Notre Dame fire. Many protesters were set off by how quickly French billionaires pledged funds to restore the damaged cathedral, while many working class people in France struggle to pay their bills.
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