Paris: French President Emmanuel Macron has strongly condemned the violence that broke out during the ‘yellow vest’ protest against fuel price hikes.
“Shame on those who attacked them (law enforcement officials). Shame on those who have abused other citizens and journalists. Shame on those who have tried to intimidate elected officials. No room for this violence in the Republic,” Macron tweeted on Saturday. He also thanked the law enforcement for their courage and professionalism.
There are claims that members from the far-right community had slipped into the crowd, according to CNN.
42 protestors have been arrested in Paris, while 132 people from various protests have been apprehended across France on Saturday alone.
Over 3,000 officers have been put on duty in the French capital to contain around 8,000 protestors and government buildings have been secured.
Quoting a spokesperson from France’s Interior Ministry, CNN reported that six people and two police officers were injured during the Paris protest.
Thierry Paul Valette, one of the organisers for the protest, stated, “The objective was to unite everybody here in Paris. I am disappointed because it wasn’t meant to be like this.”
Valette blamed the turn of events on a “small section” of the “extreme left and the extreme right” – a departure from French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner who put the blame on members of the far right community who infiltrated the clashes for the violence.
Speaking at a news conference on Saturday, Castaner stated, “Today, the far right has mobilized. The security forces perfectly anticipated this situation,” while blaming Marine Le Pen, chief of the far-right National Front Party, for inciting protestors.
“The right to protest cannot go beyond the respect of the fundamental law of our country,” he said while adding that were more than 10,600 protestors across the nation.
Le Pen decried the claims in a tweet and mentioned that she only asked why protestors were not allowed to voice their dissent at the Champs Elysees.
This comes after police personnel were forced to use tear gas shells and water cannons to disperse the crowd that had collected at Champs Elysees to protest against rising gas prices and Macron’s economic policies.
Calls for Macron’s resignation have also come as the protests have gained momentum over the weeks. Recently, a demonstrator was accidentally run over and killed by a car and over 200 others were wounded during a massive protest against Macron’s government in eastern France.
There is raging dissent over Macron’s push for environmental policies that were previously implemented under former President Francois Hollande’s administration.