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French protesters demand attention from Macron

PARIS (AP) -- French yellow vest protesters have set fires along a march through Paris to drive home their message to the government that rebuilding the fire-ravaged Notre Dame Cathedral isn’t the only problem France needs to solve.
Like the high-visibility vests the protesters wear, the scattered small fires in Paris appeared to be a collective plea to French President Emmanuel Macron’s government to “look at me — I need help too!”


Police fired water cannon and sprayed tear gas to try to control radical elements rampaging on the margins of the largely peaceful march.
The protests marked the 23rd straight weekend of yellow vest actions against Macron’s centrist government, which they see as favoring the wealthy and big business. Protesters view themselves as standing up for beleaguered French workers, students and retirees who have been battered by high unemployment, high taxes and shrinking purchasing power.
Masked protesters and helmeted riot police have clashed repeatedly in Paris amid tensions on the edges of a yellow vest protest.
Tear gas hung in the air throughout the afternoon Saturday around the Place de la Republique plaza in eastern Paris.
Radical protesters hurled paving stones and flares, attacked at least one boarded-up store, and set fire to a few vehicles. Police repeatedly charged as they tried to contain the crowd.
Associated Press reporters saw at least two journalists injured in the melee. Meanwhile a separate, smaller crowd of yellow vests marched peacefully toward the cordoned-off neighborhood around the fire-damaged Notre Dame Cathedral. Young women skipped down a street along the Seine River with drummers and singers.
They are urging the French government not to forget the troubles of the poor even as it gathers millions to rebuild the cathedral.
A car, motorbikes and multiple barricades are ablaze in eastern Paris as a yellow vest protest has degenerated into scattered violence.
Paris firefighters are battling multiple small but impressive fires Saturday around the Place de la Republique. The smell of tear gas mixed with black smoke choking the air.
Associated Press reporters saw a car and motorbikes on fire and multiple volleys of tear gas and dispersion grenades, as riot police worked to control the crowd. Several protesters also set flares.
French television showed images of volunteer medics treating a yellow-vested protester lying on the ground.
While that neighborhood was tense, overall Saturday’s yellow vest actions have been peaceful. Many protesters are frustrated that the international effort to help fire-damaged Notre Dame Cathedral has eclipsed the five-month-old yellow vest movement against wealth inequality.


(Latest Update
April 22,
2019)


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