France: Yellow Vest protester loses hand during Paris march
Yellow Vest demonstrators have marched through the streets of the French capital, Paris, and other cities on the 13th weekend of rallies against political elite and the economic policies of President Emmanuel Macron.
Protesters and police scuffled outside the grounds of the National Assembly building in Paris on Saturday.
Several protesters suffered grave injuries, with one losing a hand as police in riot gear used tear gas and flash balls to disperse the crowd.
Some police officers also got wounded with rocks and smoke grenades thrown back at them by the angry protesters.
One police grenade was filmed exploding as protesters approached the device. Eyewitness Cyprien Royer told RT news channel that he and the injured man were near the National Assembly, where a group of people dressed in black were trying to smash their way in.
“That guy was just observing. The police arrived and started throwing grenades,” Royer said. “One grenade flew right under the guy’s feet, and he tried to instinctively push it away with his hand, he hit it, and the grenade went off.”
The protesters also denounced the use of flash ball riot control guns, banned in much of Europe, by French riot police.
Macron’s government had already warned that police would not hesitate to use flash balls in case of violence after it was authorized by the country’s highest administrative court.
Anti-government demonstrators also took to the streets in Bordeaux and Toulouse to reiterate their demands and to pay homage to those killed or injured since the onset of the rallies on November 17, which were initially against fuel tax hikes.
Despite the French government suspending the tax hikes and announcing increases to the minimum wage, protests have continued.