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16 Nov, 2019 10:13

Tear gas & bonfires: Scuffles with police as Yellow Vests block roads in Paris ahead of 1st anniversary of protests (VIDEOS)

Police fired tear gas as Yellow Vest protesters blocked a major road and erected barricades in Paris, marking one year since the nationwide demonstration movement began sweeping the country.

Clashes broke out at Place d’Italie downtown and near Porte de Champerret on the city’s outskirts.

The protesters have also blocked traffic down the Boulevard Peripherique, the main ring road circling the capital. Riot police were deployed to disperse them.

A total of 41 people were arrested on the streets of Paris, police said.

More than 270 protest events were planned to take place across France over the weekend. Thousands are expected to rally in Paris alone, celebrating a full year since the inception of the Yellow Vest movement last November.

The protesters are determined to show that the movement is “far from being dead” and called for a “grand national mobilization,” according to one group on social media.

Police, meanwhile, beefed up security in the capital. Local media reported that officers are on the lookout for hundreds of “yellow ultras and ultra-left militants.”

Also on rt.com Fizzled-out rebels or agents of change? France’s year of Yellow Vests protests

The Yellow Vest protests started as a grassroots campaign against government plans to hike fuel taxes. The hikes were scrapped after several weeks of protests but the rallies continued. They grew to encompass other demands, such as better living standards, government accountability, the fight against corruption and for more direct-ballot initiatives. Demonstrators have also demanded the resignation of President Emmanuel Macron.

Some of the Yellow Vest rallies remained peaceful and maintained a cheerful atmosphere. Others have spiraled into fierce clashes with police, widespread riots and vandalism. More than 8,400 protesters were detained, and at least two dozen of them lost their eyesight after being injured by riot gun fire.

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