18 arrested in Paris as demonstrators set fires and clash with police

World Today

18 arrested in Paris as demonstrators set fires and clash with police.01

Fires and tear gas on the Champs-Elysees as police and protesters clash over rising fuel taxes. Two people have been killed since unrest began eight-days ago and the demonstrations have also taken on political overtones. CGTN’S Elena Casas reports.

Follow Elena Casas on Twitter @ElenacMontanez

It started as a protest over tax rises on diesel but it’s become a lightning rod for a wide range of grievances over the cost of living.

The complaint that President Macron is arrogant and out of touch is everywhere among the demonstrators as many chanted calls for him to resign.

Thousands of people have ignored a police ban on protesting here to fill the Champs Elysees. They have torn down barricades and ripped up paving stones to throw at police, who responded with tear gas.

Some demonstrators also pulled down fences from construction sites to block the road, and set fire to a parked van.

“What I’ve seen since this morning is that far right troublemakers have answered the call of Marine le Pen, and others, and want to attack institutions including the police and members of parliament,” said French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner.

But the demonstrations were spontaneously organised via social media  and many reject what they see as attempts by right wing politicians to co-opt them.