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One of the leaders of the “Yellow Vest” demonstrations in France was arrested on Wednesday by police in Paris, before being released on Thursday.

This signals a harder line from the government and it sparked a wave of criticism from opponents.

France24 reports that Eric Drouet  who already faces a trial for carrying a weapon at a previous protest  was arrested late Wednesday for organising an unauthorised protest on the Champs-Elysées avenue. He was released Thursday afternoon.

Speaking to reporters after his release, Drouet said he had been on his way to a restaurant with four others when he was picked up by dozens of armed riot police and forced into a vehicle.

“I wasn’t wearing a yellow vest, just walking on the pavement,” he said, calling the arrest “incomprehensible”.

“I’m not the Yellow Vests’ representative. With or without me, it will continue”, he said, speaking of the protests.

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