Under the strict surveillance of the police, several hundred "yellow vests" gathered in different parts of Paris on the morning of Saturday, September 21, a day that seems tense: even before the beginning of the demonstrations, the authorities had already arrested at least thirty people.
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Several hundred people claiming "yellow vests" were already gathered in Paris Saturday morning in several points of the capital, in front of a high surveillance of the police.
While the day promises to be tense , to believe the calls of the groups of "yellow vests" on the social networks, the police force had already carried out 39 arrests at 11am (9h UTC), according to the Prefecture of Police. Shortly before that, they had controlled about 1,290 people and had verbalized 13.
The prefect of police mobilized a tight device with 7,500 police, launchers, and the return in the streets of armored vehicles of the gendarmerie. Entire neighborhoods in the center of the capital were patrolled, uniformed and plainclothes policemen checking and massively searching those present.
Tear gas at Saint-Lazare
They fired tear gas once to disperse the protesters, who then headed for the Avenue des Champs-Elysees, where stores had been ransacked at previous demonstrations. Protesters, most without yellow vests, but claiming this social movement born in November 2018, were blocked by police in the neighborhood of the station Saint-Lazare.
" We are treated like criminals ", irritated Brigitte, environmental activist. Among the slogans heard: " the street, it is ours ". " This day is symbolic for us, for the convergence of the struggles between climate, pensions, " said Eric, "yellow vest" from Toulouse with his partner, both executives. They planned to go to the march for the climate, also scheduled Saturday afternoon to the capital.
" Convergence " of struggles?
This parade " for the climate and social justice " will leave at midday of the center of the capital, at the call of many NGOs. The organizers hope a strong mobilization, even if Friday's event on climate has gathered a little less than 10 000 people in the capital, according to a count of the firm Occurrence for media.
Some activists are beginning to hope for a " convergence ", such as Aurélie Trouvé of the alter-globalist Attac movement, for whom " end of the world and end-of-the-month concerns are articulated ". Because the calls of groups " yellow vests " to rise on the capital multiplied, some making openings to the ecologists. They intend to maintain pressure on the government after a historic " global climate strike ".
Champs Élysées curly, water launcher and closed metro statios
The symbolic districts of Étoile and Champs-Elysées are squared with patrols of uniformed and plainclothes policemen checking and massively searching those present. Several metro stations in the capital are also closed.
A water launcher was parked on the top of the Avenue des Champs-Elysees, opposite the drugstore Publicis, while Fouquet's restaurant, ransacked on March 16, was barricaded and guarded by two policemen.
Several monuments closed at Heritage Days
For this day of multiple demonstrations in Paris - including the march for the climate and rallies against the pension reform - the authorities say fear a return of violence, as at the height of the movement of " yellow vests ".
While this Saturday also sees the beginning of Heritage Days , which attract tens of thousands of visitors each year, several monuments will remain closed as a precaution. Like the Arc de Triomphe, seriously degraded in December by protesters, and the museums of Petit et Grand Palais. The presidential palace of the Élysée is only accessible by reservation.