Macron in police attack: It’s time to restore order.
President Emmanuel Macron has called for “order and calm” to be restored in France after more violent incidents marred a sixth weekend of Yellow Vest protests, just days before the Christmas break.
Speaking on a visit to Chad where he was visiting French troops serving in the Sahel region’s anti-extremist Operation Barkhane, Macron said, “The time has come for order, calm and harmony. Our country needs it.
“It needs unity and sincere commitment to common goals. We have to ease the divisions.”
Macron has struggled to appease the anger of the working poor in small town and rural France over dwindling spending power and policies seen as tilted towards the rich.
A total of 38,600 people took part in a sixth round of nationwide protests on Saturday, according to the interior ministry – around half the number that demonstrated a week earlier.
Police attacked on Champs-Elysées
Though protests in Paris were largely peaceful, violence broke out on the iconic Champs-Elysees avenue in the evening.
In one incident that caused widespread shock, a group of three police officers on motorbike were forced to make a hasty escape after coming under attack by a group, some wearing yellow vests, who threw electric scooters, paving stones and other objects at them.
Macron has promised “the most severe” punishment for the offenders, while Prime Minister Edouard Philippe denounced the “incredible violence towards the police”.
Rise of extremist elements
Two other incidents on Saturday were seen as evidence of growing radicalisation and the presence of extremists within the Yellow Vest movement.
Protesters at the Sacré-Coeur Basilica in Paris chanted a song by controversial comedian Dieudonne M’Bala M’Bala, who has been convicted of anti-Semitic hate speech.
Others decapitated an effigy of Macron in France’s western Charente.