PARIS – French authorities detained this Saturday more than 150 activists in another day of protests in Paris, where a demonstration by the yellow vests coincided with two others, one of them against climate change and the other against retirement reform.
In all, as of 5:00 pm local time (1700 GMT), 152 protesters had been arrested in the French capital.
The gatherings of the yellow vests had not been authorized, but their members, who this Saturday were once again on the streets for their 45th day of demonstrations, kept up their protest at such places as the Place de la Madeleine, where an anti-disturbance squad finally dispersed them with tear gas.
Their protest coincided with one of the country’s Heritage Days, which allows citizens access to some of the most iconic buildings in the capital.
Certain buildings and monuments, such as the Arc de Triomphe, Petit Palais and Grand Palais, did not join in with that cultural activity for security reasons, while the Elysee Palace, seat of the French presidency, established a system of reservations in advance.
The new march against climate change this Saturday followed the one held on Friday, in which thousands of people took part, mostly young students, and included strikes that shut down certain companies.
The authorities had deployed some 7,500 police agents to avoid brawls due to the fearful presence of the so-called “black blocs,” violent groups of hoodies known for provoking fights during activist demonstrations.
Some members of those gangs, however, chose to join in the demonstration against climate change, which led to confrontations with the forces of order.
As part of their crackdown, police seized a hammer and some balls used for lawn bowling.
The yellow vest protests began last November, at first against the increase in the tax on diesel, but grew to such a point that French President Emmanuel Macron announced a package of measures seeking to improve citizens’ quality of life as a way of calming the crisis.