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Tear gas used against Paris’ ‘yellow vest’ protesters

Paris: Riot police unleashed tear gas at the so-called “yellow vest” protesters who took the streets of the French capital against economic injustice for the 23rd consecutive weekend, the media reported.

On Saturday, Paris was the scene of chaos as police confronted protesters, who set off small fires. Video showed heavy black smoke in the air. Police also used water cannons to disperse the crowds, CNN reported.

The Paris prosecutor’s office said 182 “yellow vest” protesters were placed in police custody.

This is the first demonstration since the devastating fire on April 15 at the Notre Dame Cathedral.

The Interior Ministry said some 27,900 people demonstrated across France, including 9,000 in Paris. More than 60,000 police were deployed across the country to deal with the protests.

The protesters, who chanted, sang and played musical instruments as they marched, have said that the hundreds of millions of dollars in donations to rebuild Notre Dame is a glaring sign of the inequalities in the country.

“Everything for Notre Dame, Nothing for the ‘miserables’,” read a sign on one yellow vest, referring to French author Victor Hugo’s novel “Les Miserables”.

“We are all cathedrals,” read another sign.

Besides Paris, protests also took place in the cities of Bordeaux, Toulouse, Marseille and Lille.

The “gilets jaunes”, or yellow vest, protests began as a campaign against a gas tax hike, but have morphed into a broader rally against President Emmanuel Macron’s government.

His scheduled address to the nation over the protests was to take place on April 15, but was cancelled due to the Notre Dame blaze.

He is slated to make another address sometime next week.