Today was Saturday, which meant that the ‘yellow jacket’ protesters would be occupying space in the Champs Elysee and there might even be violence, just as there was on Wednesday this week during the May Day protest.
Sections of the circuits taken by our hop on, hop off buses had been changed to avoid blocked roads and intersections and to keep us out of harm’s way.
We didn’t actually see any yellow jacketed protesters today, but we saw plenty of police. They were all over Paris in large numbers, and a number of them were heavily armed. At times they were just standing on street corners at intersections keeping watch, but sometimes they engaged citizens and spoke to them at length before letting them pass – this we witnessed, for example, at the top of the steps leading down to the subway adjacent to the Arc de Triomphe.
At one stage we saw police running down a street, and then about half a dozen police vehicles did U-turns and took off in a new direction with their sirens blaring and their blue lights flashing. Even the water police went speeding past when we were on the boat cruise.
The news reports tonight state that no more than about 1500 protestors turned up, and that most were well behaved. This was a big difference to what happened in Paris on Wednesday.
Police also blocked streets leading to the Notre Dame cathedral, presumably to prevent tourists from putting themselves in danger from falling objects or similar.