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French ministers aghast at support for boxer who fought police

10 January 2019

A former French boxing champion who was filmed landing punches on police during "yellow vest" protests in Paris, has turned himself in.

He spoke after rioters torched motorbikes and set barricades ablaze on Paris's up-market Boulevard Saint-Germain on Saturday, underscoring how protests against high living costs and President Emmanuel Macron have turned violent on the fringes.

"Contributing to a fundraising kitty to support someone who attacked an officer is being an accomplice to these grave acts of violence", she told BMTV news.

The former boxer, who now works as a public servant at a town hall south of Paris, described himself in a video posted on YouTube on Sunday as an "ordinary citizen" acting out of anger with what he called the "repressive tactics" of the police. "A little like your interior minister, Castaner, who said yesterday, '50,000 is just over one person per municipality in France, that's the reality of the Yellow Vest movement today, we can therefore see that the movement is not representative of France, '" Di Maio said.

The online fundraising platform Leetchi received €114,000 for Christophe Dettinger before the site closed the donation page after politicians expressed outrage on Tuesday.

French Sen. Bruno Retailleau welcomed the prime minister's announcement of the new legislative proposal, writing on Twitter that "hooded" troublemakers who took part in protests "must be severely punished".

One protester, Maxime Nicolle called it the "tax collector's referendum".

Since the yellow vest demonstrations began, 5,600 people have been arrested and more than 1,000 were sentenced to prison, said Philippe.

Images of a policeman beating several protesters in the southern city of Toulon last Saturday have also been widely condemned.

Loiseau on Tuesday announced that the French government would further discuss the matter with Italian Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi. Macron made multiple concessions that failed to extinguish the anger of the yellow vest movement, which is named after the fluorescent protective garments the protesters wear.

The protesters drew support from a unlikely source yesterday when the two leading figures of the populist government in Rome urged the "yellow vests" to continue, in comments which risk ramping up Italy's war of words with President Macron.

At the weekend, there were renewed yellow-vest protests after a lull over the festive period.

Since Nov. 17, thousands of protesters wearing bright yellow vests - dubbed the Yellow Vests - have gathered in major French cities, including the capital Paris, to protest Macron's controversial fuel tax hikes and the deteriorating economic situation.

French ministers aghast at support for boxer who fought police