French Prime Minister toughens laws following Yellow Vest protests

The former French boxing champion was filmed punching and kicking police officers

The former French boxing champion was filmed punching and kicking police officers

He said the government could model the new law on existing legislation against football hooligans whereby individuals can be banned from stadiums.

The incident was cited by the government as a sign of the violent turn demonstrations against Emmanuel Macron have taken.

In other scenes that caused shock, a former professional boxer was caught on camera beating up police officers.

80 thousand police will also be deployed for the next set of protests.

The images of renewed violence and destruction in Paris on Saturday underscored the difficulty of containing a leaderless movement that appeared to be petering out at the end of 2018 but has since gained new momentum.

Separate footage of a different altercation showed the same man kicking and punching another officer while he lay helpless on the ground.

Nicknamed the "Gypsy of Massy", he claims he was defending himself.

In a video posted on YouTube on Sunday he described himself as an "ordinary citizen" acting out of anger with what he called the repressive tactics of the police. "I have the anger of the people in me", he said.

Images of a policeman striking several protesters in the southern city of Toulon on Saturday also risk fanning the flames.

Di Maio responded Tuesday, condemning the remarks as "hhypocrisy" writing, "Perhaps she forgets when her president, Macron, speaking of our government had compared us to leprosy: "You see them grow like a leprosy, a little everywhere in Europe, in countries where we thought it was impossible to see it reappear", he reminded her.

While the number of protesters has dwindled since the earliest demonstrations, a smaller but increasingly radical core seem determined to push on.

French police signaled a tougher line last week when they arrested one of the leaders of the "yellow vests", truck driver Eric Drouet, for organizing an unauthorized demonstration. Demands are as disparate as its political support which ranges from the far-right to the far-left.

"Contributing to a fundraising kitty to support someone who attacked an officer is tantamount to being an accomplice to these grave acts of violence", said government junior minister Marlene Schiappa.

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

The protests have sometimes become violent, particularly on December 1 when crowds ransacked a museum in the Arc de Triomphe and daubed graffiti on the monument.

"Yellow vests, do not weaken!"

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