Macron leads crisis meet | State of emergency not ruled out
French President Emmanuel Macron led a crisis meeting today after anti-government protests in Paris that left 263 persons injured and a trail of widespread destruction around the capital.
Macron met the prime minister, interior minister and top security service officials at the presidential palace after flying in from the G20 Summit in Argentina.
Government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux said the Macron administration was considering imposing a state of emergency, but the matter was not discussed during the meeting. Griveaux said the president was open to dialogue, but would not reverse policy reforms.
They spoke about adapting security forces for future protests following the riots that broke out in Paris yesterday, said a presidential source.
Riot police were overwhelmed yesterday as protesters ran amok in posh neighbourhoods, torching dozens of cars, looting boutiques and smashing up luxury private homes and cafes in the worst disturbances the capital has seen since 1968.
The unrest poses the most formidable challenge yet to Macron’s presidency, with the escalating violence and depth of public anger against his economic reforms catching the 40-year-old leader off-guard and battling to regain control.
Macron earlier visited the Arc de Triomphe, a monument to France’s war dead, and other scenes of violence where he paid tribute to the police but was also booed by sections of the crowd.
Police said 412 persons were arrested yesterday and 378 were still in custody. A total of 133 had been injured, including 23 security personnel who battled rioters for most of the day in some of the most famous parts of the capital.
A motorist died overnight after crashing a van into traffic which had built up due to a “Yellow Vest” demonstration in Arles, southern France, a local prosecutor said.
The “Yellow Vest” anti-government protests that have swept France over the last fortnight were sparked by a rise in taxes on diesel. Macron has so far refused to roll back taxes on fuel, which he says are needed to fund the country’s transition to a low-emission economy.