Yellow vest protestors hit French streets for 23rd week

            By Yusuf Ozcan </p>  <p>PARIS (AA) - Yellow Vest protestors on Saturday once again took to the streets across France, for the 23rd consecutive week, to protest the policies of President Emmanuel Macron. </p>  <p>More than 20,000 protestors gathered at Bataillon du Pacifique Square and marched towards Republique Square in Paris. </p>    <p>Brief brawls erupted between the protestors and the police. Some protestors threw bottles and stones on the security forces and some others set cars on fire, in return of which the police fired tear gas and water cannons.</p>  <p>According to Paris Police Department, 227 people were arrested in Paris.</p>  <p>French interior ministry said that 27,900 people participated in Saturday's protests across the country while 60,000 police forces were deployed in the French capital to deal with the protests.</p>  <p>In addition to Paris, protests were held in Bordeaux, Marseille and Montpellier.</p>  <p>Yellow Vest protests began in November 2018 as a reaction to rising fuel costs, which later turned into deadly anti-government riots.</p>  <p>The protests have left 11 people dead and more than 2,000 injured, according to the French government.</p>  <p>Some 8,400 people have been arrested since the beginning of Yellow Vest protests and about 2,000 were remanded in custody. 

*Writing by Sibel Morrow

France: Video shows police attack on 'journalists'

By Vakkas Dogantekin

ANKARA (AA) – French riot police brutally attacked at least two "journalists" covering Yellow Vest protests in the southern city of Toulouse, video footage has shown.

Sharing the video on his Twitter account, French journalist Nicolas Gregoire for Medium.com said: "In Toulouse, the police seize and destroy a camera. Then hit the journalists who defend their equipment. Since the beginning of the violence, not a single policeman has been suspended or sentenced."

Yellow Vest protests began in capital Paris five months ago as a reaction to rising fuel costs. However, the demonstrations later spiraled into anti-government riots.

The protests have left 11 people dead and more than 2,000 injured, according to the French government.

Some 8,400 people have been arrested for the protests and 2,000 got prison sentences.

French police have deployed semi-automatic weapons with live ammunition against Yellow Vest protestors for the first time in January.

The presence of semi-automatic rifles at a peaceful demonstration by unarmed French citizens was interpreted as President Emmanuel Macron's understanding of law and order.

Earlier, former conservative minister Luc Ferry called for live fire to be used against the Yellow Vest protesters, whom he called 'thugs'.

France prohibits weekend Yellow Vest protests

             By Can Erozden</p>  <p>ANKARA (AA) - Yellow Vest protests this weekend were prohibited Thursday in Paris and in Lille, according to police.</p>  <p>Parisian police said protestors, claiming to be part of the Yellow Vests, will be kept off the French National Assembly and Elysee Palace.</p>  <p>Yellow Vest protests in Lille will be interdicted, regional daily La Voix du Nord from north France said on its website.</p>  <p>It is said Michel Lalande, the prefect of Nord, signed a decree, which prohibits protests Saturday in central Lille.</p>  <p>Yellow Vest protests began in November 2018 in response to rising fuel costs, which later turned into deadly anti-government riots.</p>  <p>The protests have left 11 people dead and more than 2,000 injured, according to the government.</p>  <p>More than 8,000 people have been arrested since the beginning of Yellow Vest protests and 2,000 were remanded in custody.

Yellow vest protestors hit French streets for 21st week

By Yusuf Ozcan

PARIS (AA) – Yellow Vest protestors on Saturday took to the streets across France, marking the 21st consecutive week of mass demonstrations against President Emmanuel Macron.

The protestors gathered at Republique Square and marched towards La Defense, a major business district outside Paris. Brief brawls erupted between police and the protestors.

According to French media, 43 people were arrested in Paris.

Eight protestors, including Yellow Vest movement's leader Eric Drouet, were fined for attempting to stage protest on Paris' Champs-Elysees Avenue. Last Saturday protests were banned on the street.

French interior ministry said that 22,300 people participated in Saturday's protests while yellow vests claimed this figure was 73,420.

In addition to Paris, protests were held in two northern cities of Rouen and Lille.

Yellow Vest protests began in November 2018 as a reaction to rising fuel costs, which later turned into deadly anti-government riots.

The protests have left 11 people dead and more than 2,000 injured, according to the French government.

Some 8,400 people have been arrested since the beginning of Yellow Vest protests and about 2,000 were remanded in custody.

France: Yellow Vest protests enter 20th week

By Yusuf Ozcan

PARIS (AA) – France's Yellow Vest protestors on Saturday again took to the streets of cities nationwide to protest the policies of President Emmanuel Macron.

The protests, which first started as a reaction against the rise in fuel prices and the economic condition on Nov. 17, 2018, continued under tight security measures.

Police responded to demonstrators, who threw bottles, with teargas.

The protestors were not allowed along Paris' iconic Champs-Elysees or in the city centers of Bordeaux, Toulouse, Saint-Etienne, Avignon and Rouen.

Security forces announced 32 protestors had been arrested so far, and 21 who defied the ban on the Champs-Elysees were fined.

Two people were slightly injured during tensions with the police in demonstration away from Avignon’s city center.

Eight protestors were arrested in Montpellier, while two police officers were injured. Three others, including two police officers, were also injured in Toulouse.

According to the Interior Ministry figures, 33,700 protestors, including 4,000 in Paris, took place in nationwide demonstrations on Saturday.

Yellow Vest protests began four months ago as a reaction to rising fuel costs. However, the demonstrations later turned into anti-government riots.

The protests have left 11 people dead and more than 2,000 injured, according to the French government.

Some 8,400 people have been arrested for the protests and 2,000 got prison sentences.

  • Writing by Sena Guler

Paris court fines Yellow Vest protest leader

             By Yusuf Ozcan</p>  <p>PARIS (AA) – A Paris court sentenced a Yellow Vest leader €2,000 ($2,240) on Friday for organizing two unauthorized protests, according to local reports.</p>  <p>Eric Drouet was found guilty of organizing the protests last December and this January.</p>  <p>Drouet's lawyer, Kheops Lara, told the press he would appeal the court's decision.</p>  <p>Drouet, a 34-year-old transport driver, and nearly 50 activists had gathered at Concorde Square, near Paris's Champs-Elysees, to commemorate those who were killed and injured on Jan. 2.</p>  <p>Shortly afterwards, police detained Drouet along with other activists on the grounds that the demonstration was unauthorized.</p>  <p>Drouet was also detained last December.</p>  <p>Earlier, prosecutors opened an investigation into Drouet for allegedly encouraging protestors to damage the Elysee Palace. </p>  <p>On Feb. 14, the European Parliament passed a resolution condemning French authorities’ use of disproportionate violence against peaceful protests.</p>  <p>Since last November, thousands of protesters wearing bright yellow vests -- dubbed the Yellow Vests -- have gathered in major French cities to protest French President Emmanuel Macron's controversial fuel tax hikes and the deteriorating economic situation.</p>  <p>Under pressure, Macron announced a rise in the minimum wage and scuttled the tax hikes.</p>  <p>The protests grew into a broader movement aimed at tackling income inequality and are calling for giving citizens a stronger voice in government decision-making.</p>  <p>In the protests, at least 11 people died, around 8,400 were detained, and over 2,000 were injured, and subsequently nearly 1,800 got prison sentences.</p>  <p>*Writing by Dilara Hamit from Ankara

France allows forces to open fire at Yellow Vests

By Gamze Turkoglu Oguz
ANKARA (AA) – French security forces will be allowed to open fire if lives are threatened during the Yellow Vest protests to be held this weekend in Paris, according to media reports.
Gen. Bruno Leray, military governor of Paris, told Franceinfo radio on Friday the army will assist 5,000 police officials to ensure order during the protests.
He said security forces could "open fire" should their lives or those of civilians are in danger.
French police announced that no protests would be allowed in Champs-Elysees and the protestors would be kept away from the streets surrounding Arc de Triomphe boulevard.
Last week in the protests, 192 people were arrested while 42 people, including 17 policemen, were wounded.
Yellow Vest protests began four months ago as a reaction to rising fuel costs. However, the demonstrations later turned into anti-government riots.
The protests have left 11 people dead and more than 2,000 injured, according to French government.
Some 8,400 people have been arrested for the protests and 2,000 sentenced to prison.
* Writing by Ali Murat Alhas

UK: Protesters storm attorney general's office

             By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal

LONDON (AA) – A group of pro-Brexit Yellow Vest protesters stormed the offices of British Attorney General Geoffrey Cox on Tuesday.

A live video on social media showed the group claiming to be inside, according to local media reports.

The protesters shouted, “We want a new attorney general,” the Evening Standard daily reported.

Dozens of police officers are at the office, situated only a few hundred yards across from the parliament building.

“Police were called at 1.45 pm to reports of protestors inside the Attorney General’s office, The Sanctuary, SW1, Officers are on scene and dealing,” a tweet from Metropolitan Police said.

“No arrests at this point,” it added.

Cox last week directly affected the second vote on Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal with his legal evaluation.

May submitted an “improved” version of her deal to the House of Commons for a second time after further discussions with EU leaders.

But in his legal advice, Cox said the risk of remaining in a backstop remained unchanged.

May’s deal later was rejected by MPs with a majority of 149.

INFOGRAPHIC – Yellow Vest protests: 368 injured in police violence

             By Yusuf Ozcan</p>    <p>PARIS (AA) - Subjected to police violence during Yellow Vest protests, nearly 370 people were injured since last November, an online investigative French journal said on Tuesday.</p>    <p>According to Mediapart, one person was killed and 368 others injured after getting shot by tear gas capsules of French police during the nationwide Yellow Vest protests against the government. </p>  <p>The police violence left 21 people with eye injuries, 204 others with headshot. Some 68 people sustained leg injuries while 41 others were wounded in the chest.</p>    <p>Among those injured were 56 journalists and 37 high school students.</p>    <p>In Feb. Dunja Mijatovic, Council of Europe commissioner for human rights, called on French authorities to show more respect for human rights during protests but the French government defends the use of tear gas by police during protests in order to maintain public order.</p>    <p>Since Nov. 17, thousands of protesters wearing bright yellow vests -- dubbed the Yellow Vests -- have gathered in major French cities, including Paris, to protest French President Emmanuel Macron's controversial fuel tax hikes and deteriorating economic situation.</p>    <p>According to the French government figures, 11 people were killed in protests and over 2,000 others were injured.</p>    <p>French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said in February that security forces arrested some 8,400 people.</p>    <p>Additionally, at least 1,796 others received prison sentence.</p>    <p>Under pressure, Macron announced a rise in the minimum wage and scuttled the tax hikes.</p>    <p>Since then, however, the protests have grown into a broader movement aimed at tackling income inequality and are calling for giving citizens a stronger voice in government decision-making.

Council of Europe urges France to respect human rights

                                 By Yusuf Ozcan</p>    <p>STRASBOURG, France (AA) - The Council of Europe’s human rights commissioner on Tuesday called on France to show more respect for human rights while dealing with the Yellow Vest demonstrations.</p>    <p>“The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatovic, invites the French authorities to show more respect for human rights during operations aimed at maintaining public order,” the council said in a statement.</p>    <p>She also called on the French authorities to “refrain from introducing excessive restrictions to freedom of peaceful assembly through the bill on strengthening and guaranteeing public order at demonstrations.”</p>    <p>Mijatovic noted the main duty of the law enforcement officers is “to protect citizens and their human rights&quot;, referring to violence by the security forces during the demonstrations.</p>    <p>The number and seriousness of the injuries raise questions about the compatibility of the methods used by the security forces during protests. </p>  <p>She also urged the French authorities to ban use of the teargas, which caused injuries of many protesters.</p>    <p>Condemning violent actions during the demonstrations, Mijatovic encouraged the French authorities to share more detailed figures of the injured with the public.</p>  <p> </p>  <p> </p>  <p>- Yellow Vest protests</p>    <p>On Feb. 14, the European Parliament (EP) adopted a resolution condemning the use of violence and disproportionate interventions by state authorities during peaceful protests in France.</p>    <p>French government defends the use of tear gas by police in order to maintain public order during protests.</p>    <p>Since Nov. 17, thousands of protesters wearing bright yellow vests -- dubbed the Yellow Vests -- have gathered in major French cities, including Paris, to protest French President Emmanuel Macron's controversial fuel tax hikes and deteriorating economic situation.</p>    <p>Under pressure, Macron announced a rise in the minimum wage and scuttled the tax hikes.</p>    <p>Since then, however, the protests have grown into a broader movement aimed at tackling income inequality and are calling for giving citizens a stronger voice in government decision-making.</p>    <p>At least 11 people died, around 8,400 others were detained, over 2,000 were injured in the protests and 1,796 people received prison sentence.
  • Sena Guler from Ankara contributed to this story