Posted by News Express | 3 December 2018 | 1,071 times
French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday (Dec 2) surveyed the damage from a day of riots across Paris and led a crisis meeting that ended with a call for further talks with anti-government activists who have staged two weeks of protests.
Macron held crisis talks with the prime minister, interior minister and top security service officials to forge a response to the violence that left hundreds injured nationwide.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has been asked to meet protest organisers and party leaders as part of a "constant wish for dialogue," the Elysee Palace said.
Environment Minister Francois de Rugy met representatives of the "yellow vests" last week but failed to convince them to end the protests.
The government has not ruled out imposing a state of emergency to combat the protests, which began over fuel taxes but have grown into wider anger over Macron's agenda.
The president earlier assessed the damage at the Arc de Triomphe, the massive monument to France's war dead at the top of the famous Champs Elysees avenue, where rioters scrawled graffiti and ransacked the ticketing and reception areas.
Inside, rioters smashed in the iconic face of a sculpture, a partial reproduction of the victory allegory "La Marseillaise" by Francois Rude.
Macron also saw the wreckage of burnt-out cars and damaged buildings from rioting at other sites, where he praised the police but was also booed by sections of the crowd.
Paris police said 412 people were arrested on Saturday during the worst clashes for years in the capital and 378 remained in custody.
Paris police prefect Michel Delpuech said he "deplored" violence which he added had been of "unprecedented seriousness" and "on a level not seen in decades."
A total of 263 people were injured nationwide, with 133 injured in the capital, including 23 members of the security forces.
"I will never accept violence," Macron said. "No cause justifies that authorities are attacked, that businesses are plundered, that passers-by or journalists are threatened or that the Arc du Triomphe is defiled."
The violence has caused deep concern in the French business community which claims it has already lost billions of euros and is set to attend a meeting at the Economy ministry on Monday.
"Our worse fears have been confirmed: this is the third consecutive weekend of (protest) blockades which amounts to a major loss for the whole business community," Jacques Creyssel, representative of a federation of retail businesses, told AFP. (AFP)
• Demonstrators clash with riot police at the Arc de Triomphe during a protest of Yellow vests against rising oil prices and living costs in Paris. (Abdulmonan EASSA/AFP)
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