By Hasan Esen
PARIS (AA) - The Council of Europe on Monday strongly condemned threats and attacks against journalists during recent Yellow Vest demonstrations in France.
“Any attack on journalists who are simply doing their jobs is an attack on democracy,” Secretary-General Thorbjorn Jagland said in his first statement regarding the protests that have been going on for nine weeks.
He noted that "working conditions for the press have been steadily deteriorating over recent weeks".
Jagland went on to say: “Freedom to speak and to demonstrate should on no account become an excuse for such an outpouring of violence and hatred."
The statement did not include remarks on the demands of protesters and the police violence.
- Yellow Vest protests
The protests first started in France on Nov. 17, but quickly took on larger themes and spilled to other European countries.
Thousands of protesters wearing bright yellow vests -- dubbed the Yellow Vests -- have gathered in major French cities, including Paris, to protest Macron's controversial fuel tax hikes and the deteriorating economic situation.
Demonstrators held protests blocking roads and also the entrances and exits to gas stations and factories across the country. Police responded with teargas and water cannons.
The protesters, who generally live in rural areas due to high rents in the cities, have demanded Macron cut fuel taxes and ease their economic difficulties.
Under pressure, Macron announced a rise in the minimum wage and scuttled the controversial fuel tax hikes.
At least 10 people have died, more than 5,600 others were detained and in excess of 1,700 others have been wounded.