January 20, 2019
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European Union

Yellow vest protests kick off in France in the wake of savage gas explosion

Paris, Dec 12 (efe-epa).- Renewed clashes between French riot police and demonstrators aligned with the so-called yellow vests movement began Saturday with rock-throwing protesters being met with tear gas around Paris' downtown Arc de Triomphe as well as in the central city of Bourges and other locations including the southern cities of Nimes and Bordeaux, authorities said.

The clashes began to break out in Paris shortly after 14.30 local time (13.30 GMT) when some hooded men began throwing objects at the riot police, who responded with baton charges and tear gas.

More than 50 people have been arrested so far in Paris, mostly for carrying knives, authorities said.

Protesters also gathered in Bourges, located in the geographical center of France, and began to light fires in the street and taunt the large police presence.

It was the ninth consecutive Saturday that the "yellow vests" appear in France, in protests that have normally ended in serious disturbances.

Prime Minister, Édouard Philippe, announced on Monday, after the riots a week ago, that the government was to legislate for sanction against participants in unannounced demonstrations and to create a register of radicals so that they can be prevented from being present in such protests.

The interior ministry also said it would be "extremely firm" with new episodes of violence.

Paris was still reeling from a violent gas explosion at a downtown bakery early Saturday that left three dead and dozens injured, some critically.

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