Macron mulls imposing state of emergency after worst unrest

PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron considered declaring a state of emergency as he met security chiefs on Sunday seeking a way out of nationwide protests after rioters turned central Paris into a battle zone and vandalised the Arc de Triomphe monument.
Macron met with the prime minister, interior minister and top security service officials at the presidential palace in Paris after flying in from the G20 summit in Argentina.
Paris police said 412 people were arrested during the worst clashes for years in the capital and 378 were still in custody. A total of 133 had been injured, including 23 members of the security forces who battled rioters.
“I will never accept violence,” Macron told a news conference in Buenos Aires before flying home.
“No cause justifies that authorities are attacked, that businesses are plundered, that passers-by or journalists are threatened or that the Arc du Triomphe is defiled,” he said.
As protests took place across the country, a motorist died overnight after crashing a van into traffic which had built up due to a “yellow vest” demonstration in Arles, southern France, a local prosecutor said on Sunday.
The so-called “yellow vest” anti-government protests that have swept France over the last fortnight were sparked initially by a rise in taxes on diesel.
In a separate incident, a motorway pay booth was set on fire by arsonists in southern France near the city of Narbonne, a judicial source said. Five people were taken into custody, a prosecutor said.
The main north-south motorway in eastern France, the A6, was also blocked by protesters near the city of Lyon on Sunday morning, its operator said.
The capital was calm, however, but as groups of workers moved around cleaning up the mess from the previous day, the scale of the destruction became clear.
Around famous areas including the Champs-Elysees, the Louvre museum, the Opera and Place Vendome, smashed shop windows, broken glass and the occasional burned-out car were testament to the violence. — AFP