PARIS

Dozens of public housing advocates are protesting outside the gutted Notre Dame in Paris to demand that France’s poorest be remembered after donors pledged $1 billion to rebuild the cathedral and its destroyed roof.

Around 50 people from a French homeless association gathered Monday with placards reading “1 billion in 24 hours.” They chanted slogans directed at Bernard Arnault, the CEO of luxury group LVMH, who last week pledged 200 million euros ($226 million). Some chanted “Notre Dame needs a roof, we need a roof too!”

Paris police monitored the peaceful protest but didn’t intervene.

In addition to Arnault’s pledge, another billionaire, Francois Pinault, and his son pledged 100 million euros for the reconstruction effort from their company, which owns the Christie’s auction house and is the main shareholder for Gucci.

Source: Fox News World

With French police suicides on the rise, officials are expressing shock and anger after some yellow vest protesters encouraged police to kill themselves.

Radical protesters have clashed with police nearly every weekend for five months on the margins of largely peaceful yellow vest demonstrations for economic justice.

On Saturday, Associated Press reporters heard some protesters in Paris shouting “Kill yourselves!” at police firing tear gas and rubber projectiles and charging the crowd to contain the violence.

Police unions denounced the protesters’ call, which prompted indignation online. Interior Minister Christophe Castaner called it a “disgrace.”

Police unions held silent protests Friday after two officers killed themselves last week. Unions say police ranks have seen 28 suicides so far this year, compared to 68 over all of 2018.

Source: Fox News World

Displaced by a massive fire, Notre Dame Cathedral’s Paris parishioners are gathering to celebrate Easter in another church and to pray for a speedy reconstruction of their beloved monument.

The fire that engulfed Notre Dame during Holy Week has forced worshippers to find other places to attend Easter services. The Paris diocese invited them to attend Easter Mass on Sunday at the grandiose Saint-Eustache Church on the Right Bank of the Seine River.

Paris Archbishop Michel Aupetit will lead the service. Other Catholics from around France and other countries who wanted to mark Easter in Notre Dame are also expected to attend.

Notre Dame isn’t expected to reopen to the public for at least five or six years, according to its rector, although the French president is pushing for a quick reconstruction. Investigators believe the fire was an accident.

Source: Fox News World

The Latest on the yellow vest protests in France (all times local):

2 p.m.

Protesters have set small fires and police have fired tear gas on the sidelines of yellow vest demonstrations in the French capital.

The Paris police headquarters said authorities detained 126 people by early afternoon and carried out spot checks of more than 11,000 people trying to enter the capital for Saturday’s protests.

Police fired tear gas amid tensions at a march of several thousand people from France’s Finance Ministry toward the Place de la Republique plaza in eastern Paris. Barricades were set ablaze at one spot, and branches set on fire elsewhere. Firefighters quickly responded to extinguish the flames.

The march was one of several actions around Paris and other French cities Saturday.

The protesters are angry at high taxes and economic injustice, and are largely peaceful. Some are also frustrated that the effort to save fire-damaged Notre Dame Cathedral is eclipsing the yellow vest movement’s demands.

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10:15 a.m.

French yellow vest protesters are marching anew to remind the government that rebuilding the fire-ravaged Notre Dame Cathedral isn’t the only problem the nation needs to solve.

Multiple protest events are planned around Paris and other cities Saturday for the 23rd weekend of the yellow vest movement against wealth inequality and President Emmanuel Macron’s leadership.

One group wants to march on the presidential palace despite bigger-than-usual police presence. Another is aimed at showing yellow vest mourning over the Notre Dame blaze while also keeping up pressure on Macron.

Many protesters were deeply saddened by the fire at a national monument. But many are angry at the $1 billion in Notre Dame donations that poured in from tycoons while their own demands remain largely unmet and they struggle to make ends meet.

Source: Fox News World

France’s yellow vest protesters are still a force to be reckoned with as they hold their 23rd straight weekend of demonstrations since the movement started in November. Here’s a look at their movement:

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WHO THEY ARE

The movement started among provincial workers camped out at traffic circles to protest a hike in fuel taxes, sporting the high-visibility vests all French drivers must keep in their cars for emergencies.

It quickly spread to people across political, regional, social and generational divides angry at economic injustice and the way President Emmanuel Macron is running France. At its height, a quarter of a million people marched around France, and polls suggested more than 80 percent of French people supported the movement.

Its numbers have dwindled as Macron has addressed some concerns — and as violent troublemakers have hijacked peaceful protests and trashed treasured monuments and police have responded in force. The movement notably attracted extremists from the far right, and now increasingly from the far left, and those exhibiting anti-Semitic views.

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WHAT THEY WANT

At first, they wanted an end to the fuel tax hike. The wish list swiftly mushroomed.

Most of the demands focus on social justice: lower taxes on workers and pensioners, higher taxes on the rich, more public spending to help the working class.

Many want to make it easier for the public to mount national referendums. Some want more action to save the planet. Some want mass nationalization of French corporations, or even full-on revolution. And every week, crowds demand that Macron step down.

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WHAT THE PRESIDENT SAYS

Macron caved quickly to their first demand, scrapping the fuel tax rise. He offered 10 billion euros in tax cuts or other gestures for pensioners and workers.

He doesn’t want, however, to re-introduce a wealth tax, is cool to the idea of national referendums — and has no plans to quit his job.

His government launched a national debate aimed at addressing the protesters’ concerns, traveling the country for town hall meetings and collecting complaints online. He’s expected to announce the resulting government measures next week.

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WHY IT’S ENDURING

The hard-core protesters say Macron still doesn’t get it. They see the highly educated former investment banker as a president of the rich, and out of touch with the struggles of taxpayers who help sustain the world’s No. 5 economy. The hard-liners are also pushing for early elections — Macron’s term isn’t set to expire until 2022.

His performance this week as fundraiser-in-chief for fire-gutted Notre Dame Cathedral sharpened the anger. Some prominent yellow vest voices are indignant that billionaires quickly offered fortunes to rebuild the landmark cathedral, arguing they should pay more taxes instead.

Source: Fox News World

Tourists, devout Catholics and others are looking on mournfully at Notre Dame Cathedral, regretting that they can’t get inside the magnificent monument on this Easter weekend because of the damage caused by a violent fire.

The Paris fire service said Saturday that the last hot points have been cooled, and firefighters who had worked inside non-stop since Monday’s fire have now left.

Crowds lined the embankments across from the cathedral Saturday, taking photos or just staring in shock. The fire collapsed the spire and destroyed the roof of the 12th century monument, and Easter services normally held in Notre Dame are being conducted elsewhere.

Visitor Susan Harlow of Kansas City, Missouri, said: “We didn’t get here in time to see it. And now we probably never will,” given the many years it’s expected to take to repair.

Source: Fox News World

French yellow vest protesters are marching anew to remind the government that rebuilding the fire-ravaged Notre Dame Cathedral isn’t the only problem the nation needs to solve.

Multiple protest events are planned around Paris and other cities Saturday for the 23rd weekend of the yellow vest movement against wealth inequality and President Emmanuel Macron’s leadership.

One group wants to march on the presidential palace despite bigger-than-usual police presence. Another is aimed at showing yellow vest mourning over the Notre Dame blaze while also keeping up pressure on Macron.

Many protesters were deeply saddened by the fire at a national monument. But many are angry at the $1 billion in Notre Dame donations that poured in from tycoons while their own demands remain largely unmet and they struggle to make ends meet.

Source: Fox News World

A French court cleared of defamation charges six women who accused a former French lawmaker of sexual misconduct and the journalists who reported the allegations.

The court ordered Friday the former lawmaker, Denis Baupin, to pay 1,000 euros ($1,120) in damages to each of the 12 persons he sued.

In May 2016, investigative website Mediapart and radio station France Inter published and broadcast accounts from 14 women who alleged Baupin had groped, sexted and otherwise harassed them.

The prominent Green Party member then resigned as vice president of the lower House of Parliament. He denied wrongdoing and launched a defamation lawsuit against the six women who were identified in the reports, some witnesses and journalists.

The case had been under particular scrutiny in the wake of the #MeToo movement.

Source: Fox News World

The Latest on the fire that ravaged Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris (all times local):

1:05 p.m.

The rector of Notre Dame says a “computer glitch” might have caused the fire that ravaged a large part of the cathedral this week.

Speaking during a meeting of local business owners, Patrick Chauvet did not elaborate on the glitch, adding that “we maybe find out what happened in two or three months.”

Le Parisien newspaper has reported that investigators are looking at whether the fire could have been linked to a computer glitch, or related to the temporary elevators used in the renovation work, among other things.

Chauvet added that investigators are still unable to access the cathedral’s nave for security reasons.

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9:35 a.m.

French President Emmanuel Macron is hosting officials from the United Nations’ cultural agency, where he is expected to set out ideas for the reconstruction of Notre Dame Cathedral.

He will meet with state delegates from UNESCO, which oversees global heritage issues, in the Elysee Palace Friday.

Macron’s push for a speedy rebuild indicates he wants the fire-ravaged monument’s reconstruction to be part of his legacy, and is seizing the moment to try to move on from the divisive yellow vest protests. His initial wish for it to be rebuilt in just five years was met with incredulity.

Macron had been due to deliver an uneasy speech Monday setting out long-awaited plans to quell anti-government protests that have marred his presidency, but it was postponed after the fire broke out.

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Read and watch all AP coverage of the Notre Dame fire at https://apnews.com/NotreDameCathedral

Source: Fox News World

The brother of Islamic extremist Mohamed Merah has been convicted of complicity to murder for his involvement in a horrific 2012 attack in southern France that killed seven people.

An appeals court in Paris on Thursday raised Abdelkader Merah’s sentence from 20 years to 30 after finding him guilty of the additional charge. He had previously been convicted of ties to terrorism but acquitted of conspiracy to murder, leading prosecutors to lodge an appeal.

Mohamed Merah killed three soldiers before opening fire on a Jewish school, slaying a rabbi, his two young sons and a schoolgirl, in the Toulouse area in March 2012.

He died days after the killings following a standoff with France’s police special forces.

It was France’s deadliest school shooting and the bloodiest attack on Jewish targets in decades.

Source: Fox News World


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