Paris police chief sacked after Champs-Elysees rioting
AFP: The French government sacked the top police official in Paris on Monday following another weekend of rioting in the capital during “yellow vest” protests which have put President Emmanuel Macron on the defensive.
The police’s failure to keep the Paris protests from spiralling out of control over the weekend again cast a harsh spotlight on their tactics.
About 5,000 police were deployed in the capital on Saturday, far outnumbering the several hundred black-clad rioters who caused havoc in front of groups of often passive policemen for more than seven hours on the famed Champs-Elysees.
Business owners were left fuming Monday, as Macron cut short his skiing holiday to meet top ministers to discuss the 18th consecutive Saturday of “yellow vest” demonstrations.
“The events of last Saturday, in particular on the Champs-Elysees, were unacceptable and the president asked the government to provide a response that was up to the needs of the situation,” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said in a televised statement.
After criticising “inappropriate” instructions on the use of rubber bullets given to security forces, he announced that the head of Paris police, 66-year-old Michel Delpuech, had been fired and would be replaced today
He said French authorities would ban rallies on the Champs-Elysees and elsewhere if hooligans were detected there, adding that fines would be increased from 38 to 135 euros for people attending unauthorised protests.
While the public’s safety remains a priority, “the outburst of violence justifies a firm (police) response,” Philippe told France 2 television on Monday evening..