French protesters want to set off bank run with withdrawals

Heather Diaz
January 10, 2019

A former French boxing champion who surrendered to police after he was filmed raining blows on riot officers during a "yellow vest" protest has received tens of thousands of euros in public donations, infuriating government ministers.

Nearly 8,000 donors pledged more than 116,000 euros (Dh491,000) to Mr Dettinger before indignant reaction from police unions and politicians led the crowdfunding company Leetchi to suspend the appeal. He says he is proud of his country but anxious for his children's future.

The 37-year-old, a French light-heavyweight champion in 2007 and 2008 who retired from the sport in 2013, said in a video that he had "boiled over" after being teargassed with his wife on his eighth Saturday protest.

He admitted he "acted badly" after witnessing brutality against demonstrators.

More than €114,000 (£102,000) had been raised by the time the Leetchi website closed the page, reports say.

French President Emmanuel Macron's government has scrambled to reorganise its planned national debate on the Yellow Vest crisis following the surprise resignation of the lead co-ordinator Chantal Jouanno.

"Macron's government is not up to the expectations and some of the policies he is putting forward, particularly at the European level, are even harmful not only to French citizens but also to Europe", the Italian minister said, citing migration issues as a prime example.

He said the government would support a new law to punish the organisers of unauthorised protests, banning known troublemakers from taking part and arresting demonstrators who turn up wearing masks to hide their identities.

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Mr Macron made a raft of economic concessions in December to appease the protesters.

At least six people have died and at least 1,400 have been injured in the unrest.

"Faced with ultra-violence, we need to be ultra-severe".

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe makes "public order" announcements in the face of recent protest violence across France, on January 7, 2019. Di Maio wrote in a post on his party's blog.

Mr Macron's own standing in the polls has slumped since he won the presidency convincingly against the far-right leader Marine Le Pen in May 2017.

After weeks of violent protests that plunged Paris into its worst chaos in decades, Macron capitulated last month over an original plan to raise fuel taxes, his major U-turn since taking office 20 months ago.

In future, Philippe said, the onus would be on "the troublemakers, and not taxpayers, to pay for the damage caused" to businesses and property during the protests, which began peacefully in mid-November over taxes but quickly became radicalized.

'We want it to be rich, impartial and fruitful, ' Philippe said.

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