Paris, Dec 2 (IANS) French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday visited the Arc de Triomphe and Parisian streets to assess the damage after a group of protesters smashed and torched buildings and cars, plunging the city into civil unrest.
Immediately after returning from Argentina, Macron went to the emblematic monument of L’Arc de Triomphe where a statue of Marianne was smashed, the country’s landmark monument was looted and tarnished, Xinhua news agency reported.
Accompanied with Interior Minister Christophe Castaner, the President returned to the streets around the Arc de Triomphe that had been target of 3,000 troublemakers, among them far-right and hard-left supporters, according to the Interior Ministry.
Under the applause of supporters and heckling of some “Yellow Vest” protesters, Macron took time to meet security forces and firefighters who had been mobilized on Saturday to secure the demonstration overshadowed by raging violence.
Videos showed the capital’s vibrant avenues turned into a battlefield. Overturned vehicles were in flames around the Arc de Triomphe, shop fronts including those of Channel and Dior were smashed and Christmas trees were torched, forcing the closure of dozens of metro stations.
In the French capital, 412 individuals were arrested in connection with the violent incidents. 378 remained under custody, Paris prefecture said. It added 133 people were wounded, including 23 police officers.
Facing a fierce street challenge, Macron is holding an emergency meeting with Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and ministers of interior affairs and ecology to discuss the riots and how to handle the popular social movement of the “Yellow Vests.”
“We have to think about the measures that can be taken so that these incidents don’t happen again,” government spokesperson Benjamin Griveaux told Europe 1 radio.
“It is out of the question that each weekend becomes a meeting or ritual for violence,” he said when asked about imposing a state of emergency.