PARIS — Anti-Macron protesters smashed store windows, set fires around Paris and clashed with police, who fired tear gas throughout Saturday in the French capital.
Interior Minister Christophe Castaner says 135 people were injured in the protests Saturday, including 17 police officers. He says “exceptional” security measures allowed nearly police to put nearly 1,000 people in custody.
Casataner estimated there were 10,000 yellow vest protesters in Paris on Saturday, among some 125,000 protesters around the country. He said the protest violence in Paris is “under control” despite scattered tensions but is calling it “totally unacceptable.”
Dozens of French riot police backed by an armored vehicle charged protesters and fired tear gas on the Champs-Elysees.
Demonstrators in yellow vests carried a huge banner calling for President Emmanuel Macron to resign and for France to hold an emergency election.
The yellow vest movement started as a protest over a fuel tax rise but has expanded into an amorphous protest movement that French authorities are struggling to contain.
Meanwhile, the police chief of Imperia, a northwestern Italian coastal town on the highway toward France, says yellow-vested French protesters have blocked the border with Italy near the town of Ventimiglia.
The Italian news agency ANSA quoted Police Chief Cesare Capocasa as saying the protest was causing a 6-kilometer (nearly 4-mile) backup of traffic in both directions on Saturday afternoon.
He was quoted as saying that “we’re on the scene to try to manage the situation in a balanced way.”