PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron is denouncing violent protesters who attacked police and vandalized a Paris monument, promising they will be “held responsible for their acts.”
Macron said Saturday that the protests which have left dozens injured and at least 224 arrested “have nothing to do with the peaceful expression of a legitimate anger.” He says “no causes justifies” attacks on police or pillaging stores and burning buildings.
Macron said he is holding an emergency government meeting Sunday on the protests. He spoke from the Group of 20 industrial nations summit being held in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
French police are struggling to regain the upper hand against violent “yellow jacket” protesters in central Paris and are spraying protesters with water cannon.
The protesters angry over rising taxes and the high cost of living sprayed graffiti on the Arc de Triomphe, torched at least one car, and broke through the metal fence of the Tuileries gardens. French television showed police leading a shaken woman away from the protesters, and loud bangs rang out near the Champs Elysees where the violence was centered.
Central Paris was locked down by Saturday afternoon, with all roads leading away from the arc closed off as more police moved in. Police said at least 224 people have been arrested in Saturday’s riot in the French capital.
French far-right leader Marine Le Pen urged the protesters to go home in a tweet.