Some 1,726 people were detained during Saturday’s “yellow vest” protests in France, French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner has said.
At least 1,220 protesters have been placed in custody, the minister said, according to BFM TV channel. Most protesters were hauled off in Paris and 619 of them were sent to a pre-trial detention centre.
Many protesters carried weapons on them, but their lawyers claimed that their clients sought to express strong protest, but did not use violence.
Most demonstrators who are in custody are suspected of “plotting to commit violence or inciting a crime.”
On Saturday, France was hit by the fourth wave of protests launched by the “yellow vest” movement, which criticises rising fuel prices, taxes and costs. In Paris, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nantes and Toulouse the protesters clashed with police. More than 125,000 people took to the streets across France and at least 135 were hurt during clashes in Paris.
Mass protests, triggered by the rising fuel prices and taxes, flared up in France on November 17. France’s authorities announced that starting from January 1, 2019 petrol and diesel prices would rise by 3 euro cents and 6.5 euro cents, respectively. One of the factors behind the price hikes is the government’s move to introduce an environmental tax on greenhouse gas emissions.