- Yellow Vest protesters erected the guillotine bearing the slogan En Marche! in a threat to Emmanuel Macron
- The move came after another weekend of rioting swept France, leaving dozens hurt and hundreds in custody
- Macron, who has already made ‘humiliating’ concessions, is expected to go further in a TV address tonight
Yellow Vest protesters in Paris erected a guillotine bearing the name of Emmanuel Macron’s political party in a direct threat to the under-fire French President.
The move came as the country’s finance minister warned the violent protests sweeping the country are a ‘catastrophe’ for the nation’s economy.
The demonstrators torched cars, vandalised and looted shops and restaurants, and hurled stones in a fourth weekend of protests in Paris.
Riot police fought back with tear gas, water cannon and baton charges, leaving 71 people injured in the French capital.
The shocking guillotine footage, which was filmed in an unknown location in France, emerged as Macron prepared to meet trade unionists and rival politicians before addressing the country at 8pm tonight.
And his finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, yesterday warned that the Yellow Vest protests will have ‘a severe impact’ on the economy.
‘It’s a catastrophe for commerce, it’s a catastrophe for our economy,’ the finance minister said. ‘We must expect a new slowdown of economic growth at year-end due to the protests.’
The protesters, who take their name from the fluorescent safety vests that French drivers are legally obliged to carry, have wreaked havoc on retailers and the tourism industry.
Department stores, museums and monuments including the Eiffel Tower had to close. The interior ministry said 136,000 people took part in Saturday’s anti-government protests, and more than 1,700 were arrested, with Paris seeing more damage than last week. Protests also took place in Marseille, Toulouse and Bordeaux.
Emmanuel Macron is set to make a grovelling speech today and announce further tax concessions in a bid to calm the anger that has gripped the country.
The 40-year-old French president, elected in May last year, has faced mounting criticism for remaining holed up in his presidential palace, protected by armoured cars. He has also been criticised for not speaking in public for almost two weeks.
On November 27, Mr Macron said he would not be pushed into changing policy by ‘thugs’. But in a humiliating U-turn last week, he scrapped planned fuel increases and froze energy prices.
The protesters are demanding a wide range of changes including lower taxes, higher minimum wages, better pension benefits, and Mr Macron’s resignation.
Meanwhile footage shot at the weekend showed one of the ‘Yellow Vest’ protesters had his hand blown off after reportedly trying to pick up a grenade in Bordeaux, while a woman in Paris lost an eye during violent clashes last night.
The device detonated when the man tried to pick it up in order to throw it back, the city’s deputy public prosecutor Olivier Etienne confirmed, Sud Ouest reports.
But no further details have been released about the man’s identity or his current condition.
The man can be seen running towards the camera holding up the bleeding stump at the end of his right arm in a graphic video, which has since been removed from Facebook.
Another video was later posted by France3 Aquitaine that showed the man on a stretcher being loaded into an ambulance by paramedics.
Meanwhile, a video surfaced on social late Saturday night that showed a woman on the ground and bleeding from her eyes as others tend to her amid the protests in Paris.
Cities including Paris, Marseille and Bordeaux exploded into violence on Saturday, during the fourth weekend of demonstrations in a row by Yellow Vest protesters.
Burned-out cars dotted the streets in several neighbourhoods in Paris on Sunday morning as cleaners swept up the broken glass from smashed shop windows and bus stops.