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Protests

Fire at Paris restaurant where Emmanuel Macron eats may have been deliberate

People including protesters wearing yellow vests gather near La Rotonde restaurant during the traditional May Day labour union march in Paris, France, May 1, 2019.
People including protesters wearing yellow vests gather near La Rotonde restaurant during the traditional May Day labour union march in Paris, France, May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

The police have opened an investigation after a fire started in the early hours of Saturday morning in a famous Parisian brasserie prized by President Emmanuel Macron.

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At around 5am, an alarm went off in the brasserie "La Rotonde", in the Montparnasse district of Paris in the south of the city.

When they arrived, the police discovered that a fire had started on the closed terrace. The fire was quickly contained, said the prefecture of police.

Emmanuel Macron had organised a dinner in this brasserie with his supporters and friends to celebrate his qualification for the second round of the presidential election in 2017.

An investigation was opened to determine the causes of the fire.

"The inquiries are focused on a deliberate act," according to police

The laboratory of the prefecture found traces of oil at the scene, according to judicial sources close to the investigation.

A previous attempt to set fire to the establishment failed on 9 January this year.

The right-wing candidate in the March municipal elections in Paris, Rachida Dati, said that she was "concerned about the escalation and the radicality of the violence that is spreading across the country”.

On Friday evening, dozens of opponents of Emmanuel Macron gathered in front of the Parisian Bouffes du Nord theatre, where the president was attending a performance. Police prevented an attempt to break into the building.

"What happened at Bouffes du Nord is unacceptable, unacceptable. When we try to attack the President of the Republic, we are attacking an institution," the deputy and spokesperson for the ruling LREM party, Célia de Lavergne, tweeted.

An opponent of President Macron, Taha Bouhafs, suspected of having alerted protestors to the French leader's presence in Bouffes du Nord, was taken into police custody on Friday after the demonstration in front of the theater, and brought before a judge on Saturday evening.

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