An elderly man tries to stop a frenzied 'black bloc' rioter from creating a rampage on the streets of Paris during the first day of the Yellow Vest protest on Saturday. Instead, he was shoved to the ground.
A viral video on social media showed that the rioter was trying to smash a car during the ongoing Yellow Vest protest. When the elderly man tried to stop the rioter, the former was shoved to the ground. The 'black bloc' anarchists are protestors who take advantage of the authorised protests over climate change and pension reform.
Who are Yellow Vests?
The Yellow Vests returned to the streets of Paris this weekend with renewed anger over government policies, so much so that the local police had to open tear gas and arrest more than 200 people on the first day of protests which came following a long pause owing to the coronavirus lockdown and summer holidays.
Nearly two years since the movement erupted in autumn 2018 over a fuel tax hike and government reforms, new rallies were planned on Saturday in Paris as well as Marseille, Lyon, Toulouse, Strasbourg and other main cities.
While the protests tapered off during the COVID-19 pandemic and the summer holidays, organisers told The Strait Times that the anger that drove tens of thousands into the streets still smoulders.
Jerome Rodrigues, who emerged as a prominent leader after losing an eye to a police rubber bullet during a protest, called on social media for "total civil disobedience."
"I encourage you not to show any ID cards if asked, even if it means spending four hours at the police station. Between losing an eye and pissing them off, choose civil disobedience," he was quoted as saying.
Some of the protesters wore black clothes and carried the flag of an anti-fascist movement, suggesting the presence of radical demonstrators dubbed "black blocks" often blamed for violence at street marches in France.
The return of the protest movement comes as France grapples with a resurgence in coronavirus cases. The country's daily cases of COVID-19 reached a record high on Thursday of nearly 10,000.
A day later, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced plans to speed up testing and toughen measures in certain cities as the government seeks to avoid a repeat of the spring's nationwide lockdown.
In view of the above, the police had banned Saturday demonstrators from the Champs Elysees and called on them to respect coronavirus measures in Paris, which is among France's high-risk "red zones" and where it is compulsory to wear a face mask in the street.