French police announced on Sunday the arrest of 167 demonstrators in the capital Paris on Saturday who was among the participants in the ninth movement of the “yellow vests”.
Paris police said in a statement on Sunday that 167 people were arrested during the events in Paris on Saturday.
It added that 111 of them were still in detention, 19 were referred to the prosecution and 37 were released.
The owners of the “yellow vests” on Saturday in several French cities, headed by the capital Paris.
There were skirmishes between protesters gathered near Champs-Elysees and police, and police used tear gas and water cannons against stone-throwing demonstrators.
Police prevented protesters from entering the Champs-Elysées, while the Arc de Triomphe saw skirmishes between the two sides.
The ninth movement of the “yellow vests” saw an increase in the number of demonstrators compared to the eighth movement, while French authorities deployed 80 thousand police throughout the country in anticipation of riots during the protests.
Since 17 November 2018, France has been witnessing continuous protests on Saturday of every week, denouncing the rising cost of living and the policies of President Emmanuel Macron, although the latter made decisions including a reversal of increased fuel taxes and raising the minimum wage.
There is growing anger among workers and the middle class of low incomes and their belief that Macron doesn’t pay attention to the needs of citizens, while seeking reforms that they believe are in the interest of richer groups.
Ten people have lost their lives, 1,700 have been injured since protests broke out, and police have arrested more than 5,600 people, of whom more than 1,000 have been imprisoned.
The protests resulted in the loss of 58,000 jobs, estimated losses of 32 million Euros, and losses of 2 billion Euros in shopping malls across the country.
French President Emmanuel Macron will send a message to the French on Monday urging them to take part in a major national debate that would help break the crisis caused by the “yellow vests” movement in the past two months, a French official said Sunday.
“I am confident that the president will put forward the return of the dialogue” during this “unique debate in French history”, Parliamentary Relations Minister Marc Fesneau said Sunday.
The “yellow vests” activists come from popular and middle classes who have come to the streets to denounce the government’s financial and social policies.
On Saturday, 84,000 people were mobilized throughout France, up from about 50,000 the previous week, according to the Interior Ministry.
Macron promised this debate last December when he announced several measures in response to the “yellow vests” movement.
Macron wants his message to invite the French to take advantage of the opportunity for dialogue, and decided to go Tuesday to the region of Normandy in the west as part of the launch of this debate.
There are four points to be discussed: purchasing power, taxes, democracy and the environment.
The president rejects any reconsideration of abortion, capital punishment and gay marriage.
However, many “yellow vests” were quick to criticize this debate.
“The debate is on the street, not in a room or on the Internet”, said one 59-year-old Jean-Jacques in Strasbourg.
It does not seem that all parties are ready to participate in this debate.
Daniel Semonier, leader of the rebel French party Radical Left, said Macron’s call was “just a misnomer”.
“The president’s proposal is not on the level of challenges”, Valerian de San Just, an official of the far-right National Rally Party, said in a press interview.
In contrast, the right-wing opposition Republican Party said it would “try to support this consultation because we want to get out of the mess”, said party spokeswoman Lawrence Saye, with “reservations about style”.
The government, through its spokesman Benjamin Griveaux, tried to reduce fears.
“The idea is to go to the whole territory of the republic and not to forget anyone”, Griveaux said.
“In order for people to come, there must be a system and less hatred”, said one minister, declining to be named.
“The president’s message will provide a framework without giving a feeling of closure”, said one minister.
“There is real awareness of what is happening, and everything will change with this debate”, State Secretary Munir Mahjoubi said.
“The point is that the message will confirm that the debate can be helpful”, said a close associate of the head of state.
“For the French community, the debate can be very important and useful, even if many will try to block it”, said Francois Bayrou, a member of the Central Democratic Movement.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe is expected to explain Monday how to hold the debate.
The idea of a “panel of guarantors”, headed by a person like “the defender of rights”, former minister Jacques Toubon, or the high commissioner for pension reform, Jean-Paul Dellevoy, was also raised.