The Paris police chief has been fired for failing to contain violent riots that saw a string of flagship restaurants and shops torched along the French capital’s famed Champs-Elysées.
The government announcement came after top security officials acknowledged that attempts by 5,000 police to stop several hundred black-clad rioters running amok along “the world’s most beautiful avenue” for seven hours on Saturday had been an abject “failure”.
Nominally part of the ”yellow vest” movement, masked rioters burned down the famous Fouquet’s restaurant as well as several newspaper stands, a string of luxury shops and vehicles.
The shocking weekend scenes, in which a mother and child narrowly escaped death in a burning building, pose a fresh security headache to Emmanuel Macron, the French president, after four months of “gilet jaunes” protests and amid opposition claims he is a soft touch on hooligans.
Caught napping, Mr Macron had rushed back from a ski break to pledge “strong measures” amid calls on social media for fresh violence next Saturday. The Right-wing opposition accused the president of being a soft touch, while police unions said they had not been given sufficiently robust orders to engage with rioters.