France has fired the Paris police chief and threatened to ban demonstrations on the city’s Champs-Elysees Monday after a weekend of rioting left stores ransacked and charred.
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced Monday that Paris’ police chief Michel Delpuech, 66, who has been in the position since August 2017, will be replaced after an 18th straight weekend of “yellow vest” protests in the capital turned violent.
Philippe also announced new security measures following a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron and top security officials, including a ban on demonstrations on the city’s popular Champs-Elysees — a street of high-end shops popular among tourists — if violent groups were seen there.
Some 10,000 yellow vest demonstrators smashed and looted businesses on the iconic Champs Elysees and hurled cobble stones at police, who responded with tear gas and water cannons. Others participated in a peaceful climate march that brought together tens of thousand of people—underscoring the diffuse, unorganized complexity of the leaderless protest movement.
The months of yellow vest protests have slowed Macron’s reformist agenda. The protest movement, named after the fluorescent jackets French keep in their cars, has morphed well beyond its initial opposition to a planned fuel tax hike, to embrace a hodgepodge of grievances of a largely rural and working class France left behind.