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I will never accept violence, says Macron on Paris protests

media Burned cars are seen on avenue Kleber in Paris after the 'yellow vests' protests on Saturday. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

French President Emmanuel Macron has denounced violent protests on Saturday that saw Yellow Vest demonstrators torching cars, smashing up storefronts and clashing with police across central Paris.

The interior ministry said around 136,000 people took to the streets across the country in the third straight weekend of protests against rising fuel taxes.

Many of the gatherings took place peacefully but the French capital was again a scene of violence, as demonstrators built barricades on and around the Champs-Elysées, lighting fires and throwing rocks at police officers.

Nearby, Paris’s Galeries Lafayette and Printemps department stores were evacuated as the chaos spread.

Paris police figures show 412 people were arrested, with 378 people still in custody on Sunday morning after the clashes, which saw more than 130 people injured   23 of them from the security forces.

'They betray the cause they pretend to serve'

“I will never accept violence,” President Macron told a news conference at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires.

“No cause justifies that authorities are attacked, that businesses are plundered, that passers-by or journalists are threatened or that the Arc du Triomphe is defiled,” he said.

He said that those who of this violence do not want change or improvements.

“They want chaos. They betray the causes that they pretend to serve and which they manipulate.”

He also added that the perpetrators “will be identified and brought to justice for their actions.”

Macron said that he had convened a meeting with Prime Minister Philippe, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner and other top officials on Sunday after his return from the G20 summit.

(with AFP)

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