Police in France faced off against protesters on Saturday in what was the fourth weekend of “yellow vest” anti-government demonstrations. Thousands of police officers flooded the streets Saturday to try to prevent a repeat of the rioting and looting from last weekend. They made hundreds of “pre-emptive arrests” and fired tear gas and water cannons at the most extremist elements of the protests. Authorities said an estimated 8,000 protesters took to the streets in Paris while 90,000 demonstrated across the country. More than 700 people were taken into custody.
Named after the fluorescent safety vests that drivers have to carry, the protests began out of nowhere a month ago following a rise in gas taxes, and later grew into a more general anti-government demonstration. Back in the United States, President Donald Trump was apparently keeping track of the demonstrations and used the chaos as an opportunity to tout his stance against the Paris climate agreement. “The Paris Agreement isn’t working out so well for Paris,” Trump wrote. “Protests and riots all over France. People do not want to pay large sums of money, much to third world countries (that are questionably run), in order to maybe protect the environment.”
Trump went further later in the day “Very sad day & night in Paris,” Trump wrote. “Maybe it’s time to end the ridiculous and extremely expensive Paris Agreement and return money back to the people in the form of lower taxes?” But those claims are inaccurate at best. “The protests in Paris are not about the Paris Agreement, and the agreement didn’t impose additional taxes,” notes Axios.
The protests on Sunday expanded in the region as yellow-bested protesters took to the streets in Belgium and the Netherlands. Belgian police fired tear gas as some proteters threw rocks near the parliament. Clashes with authorities aside, the protests were far smaller than in France. Authorities in Brussels said around 400 protesters had gathered while some 100 demonstrators got together outside the Dutch parliament in The Hague.