- Minister warns of economic 'catastrophe'
- More than 1,700 arrested; mass destruction reported
The French government yesterday urged Donald Trump not to interfere in French politics after the US president posted tweets about the protests rocking the country and attacked the Paris climate agreement.
The news came after calls mounted for President Emmanuel Macron to bring an end to the "yellow vest" crisis gripping France as authorities in Paris and elsewhere counted the cost of another day of violent protests and looting.
Authorities said the anti-Macron riots in Paris had been less violent than a week ago, with fewer injured -- but city hall said the physical damage was far worse as the protests were spread out across the capital.
Burned-out cars dotted the streets in several neighbourhoods yesterday morning as cleaners swept up the broken glass from smashed shop windows and bus stops.
Nationwide, more than 1,700 people were detained -- over 1,000 of them in Paris as police vowed "zero tolerance" for anarchists.
What began as demonstrations against fuel tax hikes have ballooned into a mass movement over rising living costs and accusations that Macron, an ex-banker, only looks out for the rich.
Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said the unrest was creating a "catastrophe" for the French economy, with nationwide roadblocks playing havoc with the traffic and putting off tourists from visiting Paris. Macron is expected to address nation soon.
Overwhelmingly made up of people from rural and small-town France, the movement nonetheless includes protesters of various political stripes whose goals range from lower taxes to Macron's resignation.
And the topic became cross-atlantic yesterday.
"We do not take domestic American politics into account and we want that to be reciprocated," Jean-Yves Le Drian told LCI television.
"I say this to Donald Trump and the French president says it too: leave our nation be."
Trump had on Saturday posted two tweets referring to the anti-government protests.
"Very sad day & night in Paris. Maybe it's time to end the ridiculous and extremely expensive Paris Agreement and return money back to the people in the form of lower taxes?" he suggested.
Trump had earlier posted: "The Paris Agreement isn't working out so well for Paris. Protests and riots all over France.
“People do not want to pay large sums of money, much to third world countries (that are questionably run), in order to maybe protect the environment. Chanting 'We Want Trump!' Love France."
The protests in France are not directly linked to the Paris climate agreement which was signed in 2015 and has since been abandoned by Trump, to the dismay of Macron and other Western leaders.