Emmanuel Macron, the French president, came under attack on Sunday from for failing to prevent “yellow vest” protesters from wrecking Paris’s grandest avenue, the Champs-Elysées.
The centrist president cut short a skiing break in the Pyrenees and flew back to Paris to chair an emergency security meeting, but critics said the resurgence of violence was predictable and he should never have left the capital.
Demonstrators smashed nearly every shopfront on the Champs-Elysées, set fire to a bank and torched cars on the 18th consecutive Saturday of protests against Mr Macron’s business-friendly economic reforms.
Laurent Wauquiez, leader of the main Right-wing opposition party, The Republicans, renewed his call for a state of emergency. “Another Saturday of violence which was left to degenerate in the heart of our capital,” Mr Wauquiez tweeted. “It is time to act.”
Anne Hidalgo, the Socialist mayor of Paris, said: “We are in the midst of a major social and political crisis. We should have been capable of controlling a situation like the one we have just experienced. I’m waiting for explanations from the government.”