WATCH police crack down on ‘Freedom Convoy’ protesters
French police fired tear gas on Saturday to disperse ‘Freedom Convoy’ protesters on Champs-Elysees avenue amid a Canada-style demonstration against Covid restrictions.
Paris protests have been inspired by the action of Canadian truckers who managed to paralyze trade and traffic at the US border, as well as cause severe disruption in central areas of major cities.
The participants of the French protests have been expressing their discontent with Covid passes and other pandemic-related restrictive measures.
Despite a massive police presence – a three-day security operation has involved more than 7,200 officers – some of the 3,000 vehicles carrying the protesters managed to get to the famous Champs-Elysees avenue and subsequently block traffic in the Arc de Triomphe area.
“No blocking will be tolerated,” Paris police said, announcing its “intervention” in the “Champs-Elysees arrondissement,” aimed at “dispersing participants in the prohibited demonstration.”
Tear gas has also been used in other parts of France’s capital, and a number of cars were evacuated.
The outcome of the eventful day was summarized by the country’s Interior Minister Gerard Darmanin.
“Thank you police and gendarmes mobilized this weekend across France, and, in particular, in Paris, for making sure that order and traffic freedom are respected,” he wrote on Twitter, adding that in Paris 337 people have been fined and 54 arrested.
Saturday evening has also been marked with the announcement that France’s Council of State has supported the ban of ‘freedom convoys’.