Mother and child rescued as yellow vest protesters set fire to bank | World News
A mother and child had to be rescued by firefighters after a bank was set on fire by yellow vest protesters in Paris.
The parent and youngster were on the second floor of the seven-storey building in the upmarket Champs-Elysees area when the fire started.
Florian Lointier, spokesman for Paris firefighters, said the flames were at risk of engulfing the family’s floor when they were plucked to safely, along with other residents.
He said 11 people suffered minor injuries, including two firefighters.
The fire came amid widespread protests in the French capital, with several fires seen alight in the landmark district.
Luxury stores were smashed up, kiosks set ablaze and the Arc de Triomphe overwhelmed by demonstrators whose four-month protest is about falling living standards, unemployment, stagnant wages and income inequality.
Among the stores hit were the Hugo Boss and Lacoste shops, which were ransacked with mannequins thrown out of the broken windows.
A posh restaurant called Fouquet’s, which is associated with politicians and celebrities, was vandalised and set on fire.
A vehicle was set on fire outside luxury boutique Kenzo, also along France’s most prestigious shopping street.
The violence started when protesters ripped up cobblestones and threw them and smoke bombs at officers.
Police responded with tear gas and water cannons as firecrews attempted to extinguish the blazes.
Authorities estimated about 7,000 to 8,000 took part in the protests, with a hardcore of 1,500 responsible for the violence.
More than 60 people had been arrested by early afternoon.
Interior minister Christophe Castaner said he had ordered police to retaliate against “inadmissible” acts, and condemned those who called “for violence and are here to ferment chaos in Paris”.
A second protest flagged The March of the Century was also taking place with the aim of urging governments to act against climate change.
Greenpeace France CEO Jean-Francois Julliard said his organisation had some similar aims to those of the yellow vest protesters.
He said: “We are gathering under the banner ‘environmental and social emergency’. So today we are creating the link, like maybe we have never done it before, between the climate movement and the social movements.
“Between the message carried by the yellow vests and the message carried by environmental organisations. Because we realised we have many things in common, many similar messages.”
The French president, 41-year-old former investment banker Emmanuel Macron, has launched a series of national debates which are aimed at determining what polices people want the government to focus on.