Saturday, September 21, 2019 10:04 AM EST
By SYLVIE CORBET, AP
PARIS (AP) — A protest march on climate change brought thousands of people to the streets of Paris, including some agitators who scuffled with police and drew tear gas in response Saturday.
Peaceful participants marched in the south of Paris to demand urgent action from the government and corporations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save the burning Amazon rainforest and stop the Arctic from melting.
The atmosphere grew tense when dozens of people dressed in black mixed into the crowd broke a bank window and set fire to a makeshift barricade in the street. Police fired tear gas, as they had earlier in the day at another demonstration.
Officers dispersed small crowds of anti-government demonstrators who hoped to revive France's yellow vest movement, which started last year to protest perceived economic injustice and French President Emmanuel Macron's government.
Police used tear gas on and around the Champs-Elysees avenue, Saint-Lazare train station and Madeleine plaza, areas where officials had banned protests this weekend. Most demonstrators didn't wear the motorist safety vests that gave the movement its name.
Yellow vest supporters, environmental activists and a far-left workers union all had organized demonstrations in the French capital.
Authorities deployed more than 7,000 officers and banned protests in a large central area including the presidential palace, government and parliament buildings, the Champs-Elysees, the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral.
Paris police said at least 106 people were arrested and 1,249 security checks took place. Over 100 people received 135-euro ($149) fines for demonstrating in a banned area.
France's annual heritage weekend, a very popular event with many cultural sites open to the public, is also taking place.
Parisians and tourists were queuing to visit landmark and government buildings, including the presidential palace and Macron's office. The public could only access the Elysee after having pre-registered and passing security checks.
Some other monuments, including the Arc de Triomphe that suffered damage during a yellow vest protest in December, were closed to the public.
The yellow vest movement that emerged 10 months ago petered out this summer, after weekly protests that led to often-violent clashes with police in Paris and other cities.
Macron made multiple concessions to the movement, including a 10 billion-euro package of measures to boost purchasing power. But anger is now mounting again over his plans to overhaul France's costly, convoluted pension system.
Climate activists are demonstrating Saturday afternoon in Paris to demand more action from the government and companies to reduce emissions and save the burning Amazon rainforest and the melting Arctic.
The hard-left Workers Force union is also holding a separate march against the retirement reform, amid concerns it will require people to work longer and reduce pensions.