Tag Archives: ChampsÉlysées

Paris police chief fired over Champs-Elysées riots as French government to ban protests in trouble spots

Paris police chief fired over Champs-Elysées riots as French government to ban protests in trouble spotsThe Paris police chief has been fired for failing to contain violent riots that saw a string of flagship restaurants and shops torched along the French capital’s famed Champs-Elysées. The government announcement came after top security officials acknowledged that attempts by 5,000 police to stop several hundred black-clad rioters running amok along “the world’s most beautiful avenue” for seven hours on Saturday had been an abject “failure”. Nominally part of the ”yellow vest" movement, masked rioters burned down the famous Fouquet's restaurant as well as several newspaper stands, a string of luxury shops and vehicles. The shocking weekend scenes, in which a mother and child narrowly escaped death in a burning building, pose a fresh security headache to Emmanuel Macron, the French president, after four months of “gilet jaunes” protests and amid opposition claims he is a soft touch on hooligans. Caught napping, Mr Macron had rushed back from a ski break to pledge "strong measures” amid calls on social media for fresh violence next Saturday. The Right-wing opposition accused the president of being a soft touch, while police unions said they had not been given sufficiently robust orders to engage with rioters. Paris' police chief is to be replaced for failing to quell riots in the French capital on Saturday Credit: ZAKARIA ABDELKAFI/AFP After crisis security talks on Monday, Edouard Philippe, the French prime minister, said: “The strategy for maintaining order was not correctly executed.” As a result, he said Paris police chief Michel Delpuech would be replaced by the current state prefect of the Nouvelle Aquitaine region, Didier Lallement. Mr Philippe pledged to ban “yellow vest” demonstrations in the worst-hit areas – including the Champs-Elysées but also squares in the cities of Bordeaux and Toulouse – if police deem they have been infiltrated by ultra-violent trouble makers. In these three areas, police will have “greater autonomy” to disband any groups with the use of“drones” and “marker products” to identity individuals. Fines for those who participate in illegal gatherings will be “significantly increased”. Mr Philippe also promised to beef up Paris’ police’s security doctrine to engage in more “contact” with rioters at the behest of police unions, despite the risk of greater injury. "You have to take responsibility and engage, with the possibility that people will get hurt," said Frederic Lagache of the Alliance police union. France has for decades preferred to tackle mass protests with tear gas and rubber bullets but avoid physical clashes against large groups. French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced the government decision to replace the Paris police chief and ban "yellow vest" protests in trouble spots Credit:  BERTRAND GUAY/AFP In another potentially controversial move, Mr Philippe effectively backed greater use of “defensive ball launchers”, or LBD, which a top French rights ombudsman and the UN have criticised as too dangerous. Dozens of protesters have been injured by these, including some who claim to have lost an eye after being hit by such rubber projectiles.  One police union said LBDs had been replaced with “marshmallows” to placate such groups, leaving officers exposed against protesters hurling paving stones and other weapons. Mr Philippe said he regretted that “inappropriate orders had been given (on Saturday) to reduce their use”. The new surge in violence came as the four-month-old yellow vest movement demanding economic justice was dying down and a nationwide “great debate” on those demands came to a close. Mr Macron’s participation in a string of discussions had seen his popularity rise after plummeting early on in the protests but commentators said the latest violence risks seeing those gains falter. Some 91 businesses were damaged in last Saturday's riots Last month the French parliament passed an "anti-troublemakers" bill, which will only take effect once the Constitutional Council rubber stamps it. If enacted, it will grant regional prefects powers to prevent people seen as a serious threat to public order from protesting, and would force protesters involved in violence to pay for damage. It would also make it a crime for protesters to conceal their faces, punishable by up to one year in prison and a €15,000 (£13,000) fine. The bill has been criticised by rights groups, opposition members and even members of Mr Macron's centrist party as going too far in restricting freedoms. The Right-wing opposition says it doesn’t go far enough.  The Paris region's Chamber of Commerce said 91 businesses suffered damage in the Champs-Elysées riots. It called for an "emergency plan" to support the those shopkeepers and employees.  The French insurance federation put the figure for claims linked to yellow vest violence over the past four months at €170 million, not counting last Saturday's damage.



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Macron under attack as authorities fail to prevent vandalism on the Champs-Elysées

Macron under attack as authorities fail to prevent vandalism on the Champs-ElyséesEmmanuel Macron, the French president, came under attack on Sunday for failing to prevent “yellow vest” protesters from wrecking Paris’s grandest avenue, the Champs-Elysées. The centrist president cut short a skiing break in the Pyrenees and flew back to Paris to chair an emergency security meeting, but critics said the resurgence of violence was predictable and he should never have left the capital.  Demonstrators smashed nearly every shopfront on the Champs-Elysées, set fire to a bank and torched cars on the 18th consecutive Saturday of protests against Mr Macron’s business-friendly economic reforms. Laurent Wauquiez, leader of the main Right-wing opposition party, The Republicans, renewed his call for a state of emergency. “Another Saturday of violence which was left to degenerate in the heart of our capital,” Mr Wauquiez tweeted. “It is time to act.” Anne Hidalgo, the Socialist mayor of Paris, said: “We are in the midst of a major social and political crisis. We should have been capable of controlling a situation like the one we have just experienced. I’m waiting for explanations from the government.” The vandalized facade of the Hugo Boss shop is seen after the 18th consecutive Saturday of demonstrations Credit: Getty Images Europe Mr Macron acknowledged that the authorities should have been able to prevent the destruction. “I want us to analyse things very clearly and take strong decisions very soon so that this does not happen again,” he said. Parliament last week passed controversial legislation toughening penalties for violent demonstrators, banning them from covering their faces and allowing police to bar known troublemakers from taking part. However, it has yet to be enforced. Some of Mr Macron’s own MPs object to the new law on the grounds that it infringes civil rights. The president has responded by referring it to the Constitutional Council for a ruling on whether it complies with the French constitution. Eric Ciotti, a Republican MP, accused the president of seeking to undermine his own legislation. “This is double-talk. He is endangering our country.” The police rejected claims that they had been too soft on the vandals. Stanislas Gaudon, a police union spokesman, said lenient sentences by courts had fostered a sentiment of impunity among protesters. “We’ve repeatedly seen that those we’ve risked life and limb to arrest have got off with warnings or suspended sentences. This has to stop.” About 200 people arrested during the protest were in custody on Sunday.



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Champs-Elysees gunman had long criminal record, praised IS

Champs-Elysees gunman had long criminal record, praised ISPARIS (AP) — The gunman who shot and killed a police officer on the famed Champs-Elysees just days before the French presidential vote spent 14 years in prison, including for attacking other officers, Frances's anti-terrorism prosecutor said Friday — a lengthy criminal history that gave a jolt to an already nail-biting election and fueled growing security concerns.



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Police officers shot on Champs-Élysées in Paris

Police officers shot on Champs-Élysées in ParisAfter a fatal shooting on the Champs Élysées in Paris Thursday, the avenue was swarmed by police. We have photos.



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