UPDATES NUMBER OF ARRESTS; ADDS DETAILS
By Yusuf Ozcan
PARIS (AA) - One year on, the Yellow Vest protesters took to streets in France on Saturday to protest the policies of President Emmanuel Macron.
Yellow Vest protesters organized many demonstrations in various parts of the country, particularly in the capital Paris.
Police used pepper spray to disperse demonstrators gathering in the Champerret neighborhood of Paris and blocking roads.
A total of 164 protesters were arrested during Saturday’s protests, the Paris police said.
Calling on protesters to abandon streets, police department head Didier Lallement warned violent incidents would be responded harshly.
Thierry Paul Valette, one of the leaders of the Yellow Vest protesters, was also among those arrested.
Also, 71 people were fined for holding demonstrations in banned areas.
- Demonstrations in other cities
The protesters entered the city center in Lyon, ignoring the demonstration ban. The tension between security forces and protesters climbed. Police used pepper spray to disperse the demonstrators.
Police banned protests in Champs-Elysees and around Notre-Dame Cathedral that was significantly damaged following the fire in April.
The Yellow Vest protests started on Nov. 17, 2018 in reaction to rising fuel costs and economic injustice, but later spiraled into deadly anti-government riots.
The protesters decided to use yellow vests, part of the standard safety kit in French cars, to make their members more easily visible.
The demonstrations left 11 people dead and more than 4,000 injured, including protesters and the police, according to the French government.
Activists claim that 24 protesters lost an eye and five lost a hand.
At least some 8,400 people have been arrested since the beginning of the Yellow Vest protests, and about 2,000 were remanded into custody.
A total of 17 protestors arrested In Toulouse and five people, including two police and three civilians, were injured.
*Writing by Gozde Bayar