Protests in both Paris and London spiraled into unrest on Saturday. French security forces sprayed tear gas at masked protesters in Paris who reportedly threw fireworks at them, set up barricades, and set street furniture on fire. Photos showed cars and at least one bank on fire. Protesters were demonstrating against police brutality following the assault of a Black music producer, Michel Zecler, who was filmed being beaten by police officers for not wearing a mask. The viral footage sparked national outcry. Protestors also marched against a draft law that would criminalize publishing images of police officers under certain circumstances. The three cops involved in Zecler’s assault have been suspended for what President Emmanuel Macron said was a “shameful” incident.
Meanwhile in London, 155 people were arrested during a chaotic protest against coronavirus lockdowns and vaccines. Protestors held up signs that read, “Defend Freedom, Defend Humanity”, “No more lies, no more masks, no more lockdowns.” A Sky News reporter described seeing “quite violent, aggressive clashes” between police and protesters. One police officer estimated the crowd to be 300 to 400 people. The U.K. government has implemented a tiered lockdown system as COVID continues to surge. There were more than 1,605,172 cases as of Saturday.