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Europe

Yellow Vests prepare for new protest, French boxer who hit police denied bail

media A protesters holds a placard reading "Abolition of media control by the rich" as he stands on the statue of the Republic (statue de la Republique) at the Place de la Republique, in Paris, on December 15, 2018 as he takes part in a demonstration. Fuente: AFP.

French authorities expect a Yellow Vests mobilization “stronger" than last week across France for the ninth Saturday of demonstration, according to the police chief of Paris and the chief of the National Police.

“We anticipate a return to a level of mobilization [similar to that before Christmas across the entire country],” the Director General of the National Police (DGPN), Eric Morvan on the radio France Inter, said Friday

In the capital, "we think that the mobilization will be stronger than last Saturday and that the behavior within the groups that will be present will be marked by more radical, more [possibilities] for violence,” Michel Delpuech prefect of Paris police said.

On January 5, the Yellow Vest protests retruned to pre-Christmas levels after a decline in mobilization during the holidays: 50,000 demonstrators took part in demonstrations around the country, according to authorities, including 3,500 in Paris.

Supporters of a French boxer filmed punching police officers during a Yellow Vest protest reacted angrily Thursday after he was denied bail, as a fund for the injured officers topped one million euros.

A former French boxing champion is seen during clashes with French Gendarmes as part of a demonstration by the "yellow vests" on the passerelle Leopold-Sedar-Senghor bridge in Paris, France, January 5, 2019. Picture taken on January 5, 2019. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

Christophe Dettinger, a former light heavyweight champi.on caught on camera beating two riot officers, was remanded in custody by a Paris court on Wednesday until his trial on February 13.

Known as The Gypsy From Massy during his days in the ring, Dettinger has become a symbol of the deep divisions wrought by the Yellow Vests movement, with some protesters hailing him as a hero and critics of the rebellion labelling his actions outrageous.

In court, the 37-year-old with a shaved head who works for local government in Essonne, south of Paris, cut a contrite figure.

"I regret my actions... When I see these images I'm not proud of myself," said the father of three, who has no prior convictions.

Video footage showed Dettinger landing blows on two officers Saturday, and then kicking one on the ground, causing widespread outrage and triggering a hunt for the black-clad fighter.

Dettinger turned himself in to police on Monday. A fund set up to help him meet his legal costs raised over 117,000 euros before being closed on Tuesday after causing a furore.

Yellow Vests and Griveaux

‘Subsidised violence’

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner on Wednesday accused Dettinger's supporters of having "taken leave of their senses", saying they were "subsidising violence".

A rival fund for injured officers set up by a politician from the conservative Republicans party breached the one-million-euro mark on Thursday.

Dettinger told the court he had "come in peace" on Saturday with his family for the eighth series of nationwide protests over President Emmanuel Macron's policies in as many weeks.

But the court denied him bail, saying he was flight risk for having fled the scene -- a pedestrian bridge over the Seine river leading to the National Assembly -- after battling police.

The decision was met with howls of protest among the Yellow Vests and their supporters.

A Yellow Vest collective posted a video on Twitter showing a demonstrator on the ground during Dettinger's rampage in support of his claim that he acted in a woman's defence.

Saturday's clashes in Paris, during which demonstrators rammed open the door to a government ministry with a forklift, marked a fresh escalation in the nearly two-month standoff between Macron's government and protesters from the provinces.

Many demonstrators claim they are simply responding to excessive police force and justify the violence as necessary to make the government heed their demands.

France 24's timeline of the Yellow Vest protests

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