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Chaos erupts in Paris after protesters face-off against police

Chaos erupts in Paris after protesters face-off against police
By Bryan Carter
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Yellow vest anti-austerity protesters have taken their campaign to the French capital, and have been met with tear gas after violence broke out.


Saturday was a very tense day on the Champs Elysees in Paris.

Clashes erupted between police and some Yellow Vest protesters. Authorities used water cannons and tear gas for several hours to counter the most radical protesters.

While many regret these incidents, others believe these methods are the only way to be heard by the government.

"Honestly what they are doing … there are certainly some rioters but we are not responsible for that. We are just here to be heard," said one woman wincing at thunderflash grenades going off nearby.

Bryan Carter reports from Champs-Elysees | Part 1

"The problem in France is that we don’t have a choice. If we want something, we need to fight for it. They don’t listen to us anymore," complained one man.

Emmanuel Macron was the main target of the thousands of Yellow Vests gathered this Saturday. But apart from the president, the whole French political class has been criticised by demonstrators.

"I’m demonstrating because it’s not possible anymore. I’m retired and we can’t make ends meet anymore, it’s not possible. And I don’t understand why the members of parliament, the senators, have all these privileges. We don’t diminish their salaries," said one woman.

A younger man was more blunt:

"Who do they think we are? What are we? What are we? Are we sheep? What are we? Are we the dogs of French society? Is that why our ancestors fought?"

What started off as a movement against taxes on fuel morphed into a larger gathering against other types of tax, as well as to denounce the cost of living in France and social inequality.

Bryan Carter reports from Champs-Elysees | Part 2

But without a central structure, nor official representatives, the Yellow Vests seem divided over what to do next.

"We need a citizens' assembly. Citizens need to make the votes, referendums. We are the ones that should have a voice," suggested one woman.

"Now that we started rising up, we need to step up the movement. Macron won’t stop until we face him with a general strike, clearly," said another, convinced that more action would follow.

"We haven’t decided on the future of the movement. We are just trying to be heard. We hope to be received by the members of government to make our messages heard," said one of the protest organisers, Priscillia Ludosky.

The yellow vests we met this Saturday say they will come back to protest in Paris, as long as their claims are not taken seriously by the government, reports euronews' Bryan Carter, from Paris.

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