LIVE: 481 arrested as ‘yellow vests’ clash with police in Paris protest

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  • Police make 481 arrests to prevent violence
  • Protesters gather at Arc de Triomphe in Paris
  • Police start firing tear gas at small group of yellow vests

11.30am – 481 people arrested, 211 remanded in custody

French Interior Minister Edouard Philippe tells journalists that 481 people have so far been arrested and 211 have been remanded in custody as violence between the 'yellow vests' and police starts to take hold of Saturday's protests in Paris.

At the same time during last Saturday's protest there had been 412 arrests.

Police are charging at a group of protesters near the top of the Champs Elysees which sends everyone running to escape the tear gas. Vast majority here staying clear or watching on.#GiletsJaunes

— The Local France (@TheLocalFrance) December 8, 2018

11.15am – The Local asks 'yellow vests' why they are protesting

The Local France's Editor Ben McPartland asks ordinary French people why they've joined the gilets jaunes protest in Paris this Saturday.

Today is the first time Patricia, 23 and her sister Laurence, 33 from the Paris suburbs have demonstrated. They talk about similar themes: Rich getting richer, the need for a president who understands the country, and want a change to help lower middle classes.

— The Local France (@TheLocalFrance) December 8, 2018

Angelique Berthaux, 31 from Picardy northern France sums up what many are saying: "We are not here for violence. Macron has got to stop taking us for idiots. Salaries must rise" #GiletsJaunes

— The Local France (@TheLocalFrance) December 8, 2018

11am – Yellow vests trying to block traffic on Paris's Porte Maillot dual carriageway

A group of yellow vests who were stopped from reaching Paris's Place de l'Etoile because they refused to take off their protective gear (helmets, masks and safety goggles) are now blocking traffic on the Parisian péripherique road. Police are in the process of dispersing the group.

10.30am – Tear gas fired at yellow vests near the Champs-Elysees

Police have used tear gas for the first time this Saturday to disperse a crowd of yellow vests near the the Champs-Elysées. Arrests are now up to 354.

Police move down the Champs Elysees to jeers and the odd bottle thrown at them. Then fire tear gas into the crowd. Shouts of 'police collabo' and then the Marseillaise is sung. #GiletsJaunes

— The Local France (@TheLocalFrance) December 8, 2018

10.15am – More gilets jaunes, more arrests

The number of people detained by French police forces continues to rise. According to Le Parisien and BFMTV, the figure now stands at 343.

Approximately 1,000 people have now gathered in front of the security perimeter facing the Arc de Triomphe.

Streets empty leading up to Arc de Triomphe. One family with young daughter told me that this time last week they couldn't see the Arc de Triomphe for tear gas and there were lines of riot police everywhere. They hoped the police are better organised this week. #Giletsjaunes

— Ben McPartland (@McPBen) December 8, 2018

9.30am – arrests rise to 320

According to French news channel BFMTV, the total number of arrests has risen to 320. Only six arrests had been carried out by the same time last Saturday, suggesting French police have changed their tactics.

The Local France's Editor Ben McPartland is reporting live from the Champs-Élysées:

Dozens of police out in the streets of Paris stopping and searching yellow vest protesters before they get anywhere near the Arc de Triomphe. All those in this group were allowed through. But 317 arrests so far. #GiletsJaunes

— Ben McPartland (@McPBen) December 8, 2018

Thirty-two people have been remanded in custody.

Despite the 8,000 police officers deployed in central Paris, hundreds of yellow vests have already descended on the Champs-Élysées, chanting and carrying banners with slogans calling for Macron to resign.

9am – 278 arrests made

Paris was on lockdown with major monuments and department stores shut and some 8,000 police on the streets following the worst rioting in the capital in decades last weekend.

Major security measures in place ahead of fresh "yellow vest" protests which authorities fear could turn violent for a second weekend in a row.

Shops, museums, metro stations and the Tour Eiffel were due to close, while top-flight football matches and music shows were cancelled.

The French capital experienced its worst riots in decades last weekend, in scenes that shook the country and plunged President Emmanuel Macron's government into its deepest crisis so far.

France's interior minister Christophe Castaner said he expected "only a few thousand people" to descend on the capital after the 8,000 protesters counted last weekend, "but among them are ultraviolent individuals".

"These past three weeks have seen the birth of a monster that has escaped its creators," he said, adding that a "large-scale" security operation would be launched Saturday.

He vowed "zero tolerance" towards those aiming to wreak further destruction and mayhem, after dozens of vehicles were torched, shops looted and the Arc de Triomphe war memorial was wrecked last Saturday.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on Friday evening met a delegation of self-described "moderate" yellow vests who have urged people not to join the protests.

After the meeting a movement spokesman, Christophe Chalencon, said the premier had "listened to us and promised to take our demands to the president".

"Now we await Mr Macron. I hope he will speak to the people of France as a father, with love and respect and that he will take strong decisions," he said.

Original Article

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