Several thousand “Yellow Vest” protesters marched through Paris and other French cities on Saturday on the 12th weekend of action against the government despite opinion polls pointing to a recovery in President Emmanuel Macron’s popularity.
The protests - named after the fluorescent jackets French motorists are required to carry in their cars - began in mid-November over plans to raise fuel taxes before developing into a broader revolt against the government that mobilized tens of thousands of demonstrators nationwide each Saturday.
The government warned on Friday police would not hesitate to use flashballs in case of violence by demonstrators after it was authorized by France’s highest administrative court.
Protesters on Saturday paid homage to those injured in the past months, denouncing the use of flashball riot control guns banned in much of Europe.
A plain-clothes policeman uses pepper-spray on a “Yellow Vest” (Gilets Jaunes) protester on February 2, 2019, in Nancy, eastern France. (AFP)
About 1,000 police officers have been injured along with 1,700 demonstrators since the start of the protests, according to official figures.
“It’s true that this intermediate weapon can hurt, but faced with rioters, the police need it to defend themselves against those who attack them,” said Interior Minister Christophe Castaner.