Police fired teargas and detained more than 100 people at a climate change protest in Paris after a clash with break-away demonstrators. The trouble occurred one day ahead of the UN climate change summit.
Between 200 and 300 protesters clashed with law enforcement officials in Paris on one of the main roads leading to the Place de la Republique - the central Paris square which has become a makeshift memorial for the victims of theNovember 13 attacks
, claimed by the self-declared "Islamic State" (IS).
About 4,500 activists had formed ahuman chain through the city center
earlier in the day near the Bataclan concert hall, where 90 victims were killed in the November 13 attacks.
Other activists left thousands of pairs of shoes on the ground near Place de la Republique. Organizers of the event said the shows were meant to represent scores of citizens urging governments to reach a climate agreement while not being allowed to march. A pair of trainers was left by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, while the Vatican donated a pair of shoes bearing the name of Pope Francis.
Around two hours after that demonstration, a smaller group of activists gathered in the Place de la Republique, ultimately leading to clashes with the police and about 208 arrests.
Police in riot gear had to form lines to push back protestors, who reportedly were throwing objects at them. The group held up banners calling for the protection of the environment as well as for the safeguarding of democracy, criticizing the state of emergency measures taken by the French government in response to the attacks, during which 130 people were killed.
The police had previously banned another march planned for the same day in Le Bourget just outside the capital, using the state of emergency regulations enforced after the attacks. At least 24 activists were also put under house arrest ahead of the summit, with police sources saying that they had been suspected of planning violent protests.
Hollande speaks out against protests
French President Francois Hollande meanwhile criticized the protests, saying it was "scandalous" that the clashes had to take place at the Place de la Republique, the spot that has come to be seen as the main memorial site for the victims of the Paris attacks.
"These demonstrations are not authorized. We knew that there were trouble-making elements, who have nothing to do, by the way, with defenders of the environment," Hollande said while attending a summit between the EU and Turkey in Brussels.
ss/rc (AFP, AP, Reuters, dpa)