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Freedom Convoys: Fines, arrests, and tear gas amid arrival in Paris

Among those arrested was a leader of the gilets jaunes movement, who claimed to be one of the principal organisers of the convoy protests

A police vehicle in Paris

Police issued fines and arrests this weekend as convoys of vehicles arrived in Paris Pic: Bernhard Richter / Shutterstock

Hundreds have been fined, almost 100 people arrested, and tear gas used in Paris as the banned ‘Freedom Convoys’ rolled into the city yesterday (Saturday, February 12).

Despite the police prefecture having banned the protests in the days before the planned arrival, convoys were present across the city including in the Champs-Elysées and Bois de Boulogne areas. 

Thousands of people took part in journeys from across France to the capital.

Read more: Paris police ban anti-vaccine pass 'freedom convoy' as hundreds on way

The ban is set to remain in place until Monday, February 14. Almost 7,200 police were readied for the convoys’ arrival.

Read more: 'Freedom convoy': 7,200 police ready for Paris arrival tomorrow 

The convoys were inspired by similar action in Canada. Drivers are protesting against anti-Covid restrictions such as vaccine passes, and some have since joined to protest the rising cost of living.

Police arrested 97 people and issued 513 fines. Among those arrested was Jérôme Rodrigues, known for being one of the leaders of the gilets jaunes movement.

Mr Rodrigues has claimed on social media to be one of the convoy organisers. 

He was arrested near the Elysée Palace, at the corner of rue Duras and rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, in the eighth arrondissement, while police were reopening roads to traffic on the Champs-Elysées.

On Friday (February 11), Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said that he was in favour of people’s right to protest, but only “within a legal framework accepted by all”.

He told LCI: “If people want to protest normally, they can…[but] if they want to block traffic, we will intervene.” 

Some convoys are reportedly planning to continue their journey to Brussels, to take their protest to the EU, despite the movement also having been banned there.

Related stories

Drivers in France plan Canada-style 'freedom convoy' over vaccine pass 
'Freedom convoy': 7,200 police ready for Paris arrival tomorrow

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