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40,000 people march in France as Yellow Vest protest enters 19th week

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Europe | March 24, 2019 2:41:38 AM IST
Over 40,000 people took to the streets across France on Saturday (local time) as the Yellow Vest protests enter week 19, according to Interior Minister Christophe Castaner, despite troops being allowed to open fire on demonstrators if threatened.

The Military, along with police, has been deployed to protect public order in Paris, reports Sputnik. Adding to this, the military has been given the freedom to open fire on the demonstrators if their life, or the lives of those people whom they are defending, is threatened, according to Paris' Military Governor, General Bruno Leray.

"Their (soldiers') mission is to fight against terrorism and to protect vulnerable sites, this is for policemen and military police to get to the operational ground. In our country, the army is not in any way in charge of public order or law enforcement," French President Emmanuel Macron said with regard to the decision.

Protests have been banned on the Champs-Elysees and in its vicinity, following last week's protests which saw scores of shops being vandalised by the protesters in the area.

Clashes also erupted at Paris' Place de la Republique, as 5,000 people turned up for the protests in the French capital alone.

Meanwhile, 70 people were also detained in Paris during the protests. The police also had to resort to using tear gas to disperse protesters at the Boulevard de Strasbourg in Paris, according to Sputnik. The agitators were burning dustbins in the area, which led to the police response.

Clashes also erupted in Montpellier between police and protesters on Saturday.

The Yellow Vest protests started in November last year, against the Macron-led government's proposed taxes on fuel. While Macron has scrapped the fuel price hikes ever since protesters continue their agitation. The protesters are now demanding 20 per cent hike in minimum wages, equal pay for men and women, tax reform, development of public services and just environmental reforms. (ANI)

 
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