Home News Yellow vest protesters say Notre Dame donations better spent fighting poverty – New York Post

Yellow vest protesters say Notre Dame donations better spent fighting poverty – New York Post

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The $1 billion raised to help rebuild fire-ravaged Notre Dame has sparked outrage among Paris’ yellow vest protesters, who say the vast sum could be better spent fighting poverty.

Their resistance continued to rage in the French capital on Saturday, when masked anti-government demonstrators hurled stones, burned up motorcycles and looted stores.

By midafternoon, more than 6,700 protesters had flooded the streets of Paris, according to the Interior Ministry.

Riot police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse crowds, and they arrested more than 200 people, according to The Sunday Times of London.

Rallies were concentrated in eastern Paris, near the Place de la République, after yellow vest followers were banned from gathering near the charred cathedral.

Meanwhile, despondent Parisians and visitors mourned outside Notre Dame the day before Easter, the Catholic church’s most important holiday.

Easter mass services have been moved to nearby St. Eustache and St. Sulpice, the latter of which was burned in a separate fire last month.

Some of the gilets jaunes (French for “yellow vests”) carried signs blasting wealthy donors who pledged money to rebuild the church, but have ignored France’s growing homelessness, they said.

“Millions for Notre Dame, what about for us, the poor?” one sign read, according to The Guardian.

“Everything for Notre Dame, nothing for Les Misérables,” another sign said, the paper reported.

Donations have poured in for the cathedral since the roof of the 12th-century structure was destroyed Monday in a fire that investigators suspect was sparked by a computer glitch.

French President Emmanuel Macron — often the target of yellow vest ire for what protestors claim are his “pro-rich” policies — has pledged to rebuild the church “even more beautifully” in time for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Macron also launched an international design competition for ideas on how to reconstruct the church’s iconic spire, which toppled during the fie.

A spokesman for the cathedral said Saturday the $1 billion raised might fall short of reconstruction costs, which could total “two or three billion,” CBS News reported.

Across the globe, critics expressed skepticism about the donations and how they would be used, with some suggesting billionaire donors were only chipping in for the tax breaks.

Billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault was one of the first Frenchmen to donate, pledging $113 million, while the fire was still blazing.

Pinault heads luxury purveyor Kering and is married to actress Salma Hayek.

Hours later, Bernard Arnault, chief of Louis Vuitton owner LVMH, said he would give about $225 million.

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