Yellow Vest Protesters Shift Focus to Paris Business District

(Bloomberg) -- Yellow Vest protesters marched to the La Defense business park in Paris to denounce “the art of tax optimization,” keeping France’s weekend demonstrations alive amid a big police presence.

About 6,300 demonstrators nationwide, including 3,100 in Paris, were on the streets on Saturday afternoon, the 21st weekend in a row of protests, according to the Interior Ministry. That compared with 5,600 last week.

Large areas of Paris and several regional cities have been declared off limits to the protesters since an eruption of violence last month, when anarchists sacked and burned stores and restaurants on the Champs-Elysees boulevard.

Scuffles broke out Saturday between police and protesters in Rouen, Agence France-Presse reported. Paris police searched more than 10,000 people at various locations as a preventive measure and arrested 28, AFP said.

The Yellow Vest protests began in November, at first against gasoline taxes before morphing into a general malaise about issues ranging from the lack of public services in small towns to President Emmanuel Macron’s governing style.

Some founders of the disparate movement have kept their distance from recent protests as they radicalized, and efforts to create a political party failed due to sniping between factions and the resistance of grass-roots activists to any idea of leadership.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.