'Freedom Convoy' protests in Paris block traffic as police make arrests, fire tear gas

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French demonstrators emulating the Canadian "Freedom Convoy" protests took to Paris streets on Saturday, disrupting traffic as police officers worked to disperse protesters.

Demonstrators defied an order banning the demonstration issued by Paris police and found their way through police blockades to block traffic in central Paris around the Arc de Triomphe monument and on the Champs-Élysées avenue, France24 reported.

Thousands of French police officers assembled in the capital on Saturday, where they issued more than 300 tickets, stopped 500 vehicles attempting to get into the city, arrested 54 protesters and fired tear gas in an attempt to disperse demonstrations on the Champs-Élysées, Reuters reported.

Protesters began gathering in French cities starting on Friday night, according to the wire service, inspired by the ongoing "Freedom Convoy" protests against COVID-19 restrictions in Canada, which have spread to cities around the country and blocked major border crossings between Canada and the U.S.

France's weekend demonstrators are protesting against rules requiring people to show proof of vaccination to enter most public places, as well as the high cost of living in the country, per Reuters.

According to the wire service, which cited the French Interior Ministry, 32,000 people participated in the protests in France nationwide, including about 7,600 in Paris alone.

Similar protests are also being reported in the Netherlands and an upcoming one could arrive in Belgium's capital on Monday, The Washington Post reported.

Ahead of France's protests, French Prime Minister Jean Castex warned protesters the convoy demonstrations were not a protected right under the nation's constitution.

"The right to demonstrate and to have an opinion are a constitutionally guaranteed right in our republic and in our democracy," the prime minister said on Friday, per French24. "The right to block others or to prevent coming and going is not."