French police have arrested a leader of the “Yellow Vest” anti-government movement for organizing an undeclared protest in central Paris.
According to a police source, Eric Drouet was detained while heading to the Champs-Elysees, the site of the recent protests in the capital on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, a few dozen protesters gathered near France’s famous Arc de Triomphe war monument, waiting for Drouet to arrive early Wednesday evening.
Drouet already faces a trial on June 5 in the wake of his previous arrest last month for “carrying a prohibited category D weapon,” a judicial source told AFP.
Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the leader of the left-wing France Insoumise (France Unbowed), a fierce critic of President Emmanuel Macron, reacted on a tweet to Drouet’s arrest. “Again Eric Drouet arrested, why? Abuse of power. A politicized police targeting and harassing the leaders of the yellow vest movement,” he said.
Since November 17, thousands of demonstrators wearing yellow vests have been gathering in major French cities to initially protest Macron’s controversial fuel tax hike — which he later dropped — and the high costs of living in France.
However, the protest movement has diminished dramatically in the last fortnight, yet the prospect of protesters in Yellow Vests mixing with revelers and tourists in the capital will cause a new headache for the stretched Paris police force.
Analysts believe that the tax and salary concessions that Macron offered to the Yellow Vest protesters last month have brought the recent fall.
But according to numerous polls conducted after Macron canceled his planned fuel-tax hike on December 10, about half of the public believes his concessions were not meaningful enough and that the movement should continue.
Since the onset of the movement, 10 people have been killed and more than 1,500 have been injured. Fifty of the injury cases were serious. Thousands more have been arrested by security forces.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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