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Theatre boss rams Elysée palace gate

Man drives car into perimeter gate in protest at cuts to arts spending

A THEATRE director angry at cuts to state funding of the arts has tried to ram his car into the gates of the Elysée palace.

67-year-old Attilio Maggiulli was arrested at the rear gates to the presidential residence on Thursday, a day after he was arrested in the vicinity for setting fire to a puppet in a related protest.

Maggiulli, who runs the 100-seater Comédie Italienne theatre in Montparnasse, caused only minor damage to the gate. Witnesses reported hearing a loud bang and police rushing to the car to free the injured driver.

He has been arrested on suspicion of endangering the lives of others.

A few hundred metres away, 50 people protested outside the interior ministry building on Christmas Day to protest about poor housing conditions.

The "mal-logés" were calling for a stop to evictions from squats and makeshift camps in the Paris region, which are not protected by the winter ban on expulsions.

The protest was organised by the campaign group Droit au Logement.

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