A map prepared by the French Caravan organizers showed a plan for protesters to cross across the country along five main roads towards the city. It also highlights the protesters’ plans to head north to Brussels, the capital of Belgium.
Protesters largely cut off traffic on Saturday around the crossroads of the Arc de Triomphe, waving French flags from their trucks and cars.
The Arc de Triomphe is a common entry point into central Paris at the end of the famous Champs-Elysées. Motorcycles and small cars were still able to bypass the traffic, and a unit of riot police moved in to disperse the protesters.
Paris police said in a statement on Twitter that “no blocking will be tolerated” and that officers are also currently working to “disperse participants in the banned protests” near the Champs-Elysees.
Police said they had already intercepted 500 vehicles as of Saturday morning. Police said on Twitter that many were intercepted at checkpoints at various entry points into Paris as well as on the Champs Elysees. Five people were arrested and equipment was confiscated, fines were imposed for carrying a slingshot and protective equipment.
Canada’s “Freedom Caravan” began at the end of January in Ottawa as an objection to a vaccine mandate that would require truck drivers entering the country to either be fully vaccinated or undergo testing and quarantine requirements. Other protesters then joined the protest against mandates for masks, lockdowns, restrictions on gatherings and other Covid-19 precautions.
CNN’s Jevan Ravindran contributed to this report.
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