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24 Dec, 2018 13:31

WATCH Yellow Vest protesters chase away Paris cops after tense standoff

WATCH Yellow Vest protesters chase away Paris cops after tense standoff

A video showing police in Paris being chased away by angry Yellow Vest demonstrators has caught the attention of the French public. Authorities lambasted the protesters for their actions, while some said the story has a flip side.

This Saturday marked the sixth round of the Yellow Vests rallies. Though the last demonstrations in the capital remained relatively calm, some scuffles between police and protesters still popped up. 

One video captured a standoff near the Champs-Elysees, an iconic spot, which turned into a true ‘battlefield’ between law enforcement and protesters. The latest footage shows several officers blocking the road to the avenue using their motorbikes.

Around a dozen ‘Yellow Vests’ are seen hurling stones and other objects at the officers, who respond with shots of pepper spray. At some point the confrontation gets so tense that one policeman pulls a gun as protesters approach.

Yet, in the face of the overwhelming number of the demonstrators, police opted to flee. One cop even jumps on his colleagues’ bike making a last minute escape and leaving his motorcycle behind.

The footage didn’t go unnoticed by some of France’s top officials. Prime Minister Edouard Philippe slammed the “incredible violence towards the police.” 

“So, ‘we’ lynch the police… ‘we’ behead the effigy of the President…Stop,” government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux tweeted. He was also referring to the incident on Saturday when Yellow Vest protesters beheaded an effigy of Emmanuel Macron with an axe, put its “head” on a stake and danced in the town of Angouleme, south-western France. 

Also on rt.com French town opens probe after Yellow Vests BEHEAD Macron effigy & put ‘head’ on stake (PHOTOS)

Many politicians from right and left also denounced the aggression. French National Assembly member from the Republicans, Eric Ciotti, called the incident “unacceptable.” Twitterati, however, were divided over the case. While some backed the criticism of ‘Yellow Vests,’ others noted that there was another video, capturing the scenes before the attack. It apparently showed these very officers throwing stun grenades at the protesters.

“Nothing justifies the attack [on police officers], but perhaps they made a mistake when started throwing grenades,” one person wrote.

Several users also reminded others that scores of protesters were injured, some severely, during police crackdowns in previous rounds of unrest. The violence also did not spare journalists who were covering the events. 

Also on rt.com Another Saturday in Paris: Smoke & scuffles, more than 140 Yellow Vests detained (VIDEO)

The Yellow Vest protests, which kicked off in mid-November, polarized French society. What began as rallies against fuel-price hikes, soon rose to nationwide rallies against government policies. Authorities have since abandoned the fuel hikes plans, but people continued to demand more concessions, including lower taxes and even the resignation of Emmanuel Macron.

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