Week five of Yellow Vest demonstrations turned violent after protesters in Paris began to scuffle with police.
Just under 70,000 police have been mobilized across France in an effort to contain some 33,500 estimated protesters – a much lower turnout than in previous weeks, while the Yellow Vest movement itself has spread to several countries across Europe, as well as Iraq, Israel and even Canada.
Less than 3,000 protesters descended on Paris so far on Saturday, compared to 8,000 or so last week. Of those, 114 people had been detained in the capital – around 20% of last week’s figure.
Police used tear gas and pepper spray on protesters in the center of Paris on Saturday. One person was reportedly hurt in the head during clashes at Champs-Élysées. A correspondent with Russian state-owned media outlet RT suffered an injury to the face and was taken to the hospital.
Нашего корра на протестах во Франции ранили в лицо. Она поехала в больницу. pic.twitter.com/nVRBuuOKWG
— Маргарита Симоньян (@M_Simonyan) December 15, 2018
Meanwhile, in stark contrast to the bright yellow vests worn by most protesters – a groupd of half-naked women posing as Marianne, the Goddess of Liberty and a symbol of French patriotism, have faced off with police in Paris.
Donning blood-red hoodies and coated in silver paint, the women paid homage to the French revolutionary hero on Champs-Élysées avenue on Saturday in a silent demonstration.
Seven people in total have died during the Yellow Vest demonstrations, which has gone from a fuel tax protest to an anti-government movement.
“Last time, we were here for taxes,” said 28-year-old called Jeremy told the AFP news agency.
“This is for the institutions – we want more direct democracy,” he said, adding that people needed to “shout to make themselves heard”.
Some museums are closed, but both the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower remain open.
In Calais, a group of “yellow vests” blocked the access road to the port. –BBC
Meanwhile, an Anonymous Sith yellow vest brought his double-lightsaber: