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19.03.2019 Europe

Paris Police Chief Replaced After Weekend Riots

By - RFI
MARTIN BUREAU / AFP
MAR 19, 2019 EUROPE

The head of police in Paris is to be replaced following another weekend of riots that saw shops and restaurants torched and looted on the Champs-Elysées.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said Michel Delpuech, 66, who has been in the job since April 2017, would be replaced on Wednesday by Didier Lallement, the top police official in the southwest region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine.

Philippe announced several measures designed to prevent a repeat of the scenes on Saturday during protests by so-called “yellow vests” while responding to fierce criticism of police tactics and Interior Minister Christophe Castaner.

"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," Philippe said in a televised statement.

Philippe said demonstrations would be forbidden on the Champs-Elysees or other areas of the country if radical protesters, such as anarchists, were seen there.

Philippe announced several measures designed to prevent a repeat of the scenes on Saturday during protests by so-called "yellow vests" while responding to fierce criticism of police tactics and Interior Minister Christophe Castaner.

Philippe said demonstrations would be forbidden on the Champs-Elysees or other areas of the country if radical protesters, such as anarchists, were seen there.

He also said that police would take a tougher line on people attending unauthorised demonstrations, with fines increased "significantly".

Business owners on the iconic Champs-Elysees were fuming Monday as President Emmanuel Macron met with Philippe, Castaner and other top officials to weigh their response to an 18th consecutive Saturday of demonstrations.

Some 5,000 police were deployed in the capital on Saturday, far outnumbering the several hundred black-clad rioters who caused havoc for more than seven hours on the capital's most famous boulevard.

TV footage often showed officers standing in formation while the protesters burned and pillaged dozens of stores.

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