Police in Toulouse, France, deployed tear gas and charged demonstrators to try and break up 1000 Yellow Vests protesters, as they took to the streets for the 31st consecutive weekend. The incident, which took place on Saturday September 28th, was reported by AFP and RT. Saturday saw crowds of protesters turn out all over France, with the demonstrations in Toulouse being among the largest.
Meanwhile, around 300 protesters clashed with police who were deployed over fear of an escalation in the southern city of Montpellier; later reports indicated that four officers were slightly injured, and nine demonstrators were arrested.
Heated confrontations between police and demonstrators in Toulouse eventually led to five arrests. Further reports stated that the police officers had attacked five members of The Observatory of Police Practice (OPP), injuring one of them. The incident was documented with an image and video on Twitter to support their allegation. They also posted an open letter protesting the incident to the authorities.
Later, on Saturday, the police at their headquarters in Toulouse declined to comment on the allegations instigated by OPP.
This is not the first time that allegations of brutality have been made against French police. They have come under scrutiny from rights groups over the use of heavy-duty crowd control weapons including “flash ball” riot guns that fire rubber ball-shaped projectiles, Reuters reported.
Recently protesters have become more persistent with banners reading: "Fed up of surviving. We want to live."
The protests were originally ignited by planned fuel tax hikes last November. However, the Yellow Vests movement has since evolved into a wider display of anger at the policies of French President Emmanuel Macron, according to RT.
Saturday's protests came two days after the French government unveiled a draft 2020 budget with more than nine billion euros in tax cuts for households, an outcome of the "great national debate" President Macron held earlier to address the ongoing protests, AFP reported.