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French police detain ‘Yellow Vest’ leader in Paris

French police have arrested a leader of the “Yellow Vest” anti-government movement for organizing an undeclared protest in central Paris.

According to a police source, Eric Drouet was detained while heading to the Champs-Elysees, the site of the recent protests in the capital on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, a few dozen protesters gathered near France’s famous Arc de Triomphe war monument, waiting for Drouet to arrive early Wednesday evening.

Drouet already faces a trial on June 5 in the wake of his previous arrest last month for “carrying a prohibited category D weapon,” a judicial source told AFP.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the leader of the left-wing France Insoumise (France Unbowed), a fierce critic of President Emmanuel Macron, reacted in a tweet to Drouet’s arrest. “Again Eric Drouet arrested, why? Abuse of power. A politicized police targeting and harassing the leaders of the Yellow Vest movement,” he said.

Since November 17, thousands of demonstrators wearing yellow vests have been gathering in major French cities to initially protest Macron’s controversial fuel tax hike — which he later dropped — and the high costs of living in France.

However, the movement has diminished dramatically in the last fortnight, yet the prospect of protesters in yellow vests mixing with revelers and tourists in the capital will cause a new headache for the stretched Paris police force.

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