Clashes between the "Yellow vest" protesters and anti-riot police have raged in the French city of Toulouse on Saturday April 13th, as president Emmanuel Macron braces for a series of policy announcements that are supposed to curb the wave of 22 consecutive weekends of anti-government protests.
According to Reuters, hundreds of protesters were witnessed hurling objects, setting fire into rubbish bins, and forcibly trying to enter areas where protests are banned. Altogether about 2,000 protesters had gathered on the Allée Jean Jaurès, a wide avenue in Toulouse’s city centre, and on nearby side streets.
Toulouse is the focus for the 22nd round of demonstrations, prompting city mayor Jean-Claude Moudenc to express concern ahead of Saturday' April 13th protests that activists’ groups broadcasted on social media networks.
By early afternoon, marches in Paris and elsewhere were largely peaceful, but the protests continue to push Macron’s buttons. He has vowed to announce a series of measures aimed at easing discontent in the country.
The protests, named after the high-visibility safety jackets worn by demonstrators, began in November to oppose fuel tax increases.
However, the movement quickly morphed into a broader backlash against Macron's government, despite a swift reversal of the tax hikes, and other hurried measures worth more than ten billion euros, to boost purchasing power for lower-income voters.
In response to rioting that made parts of central Paris resemble war zones, Macron launched a two-month "grand débat," a sweeping consultation that included a series of town hall meetings across the country.
Macron is due to introduce specific measures early next week.
Outlining the findings of the debate initiative, prime minister Edouard Philippe said this week that it had highlighted people’s demands that included quicker tax cuts, action to address climate change, and closer ties between Paris and the provinces.