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France

Man in yellow vest surrenders after threatening to blow up service station in France

  • Police talked man armed with grenade into giving himself up after he demanded fuel protesters get an audience with President Emmanuel Macron
  • Suspect wore the same fluorescent jacket worn by the protesters, although it was not clear whether he was linked to the movement
PUBLISHED : Saturday, 24 November, 2018, 2:41am
UPDATED : Saturday, 24 November, 2018, 8:54am

A man carrying an explosive device and demanding “yellow vest” protesters be given an audience by the French president turned himself into police in western France on Friday, local officials said.

The 45-year-old, who was also wearing a yellow vest, revealed the device at a car wash in the shopping centre of the town of Angers.

He gave himself up at 10:40pm in the shopping centre’s car park after several hours of negotiations with police, authorities said.

“He demanded that the yellow vests be received at Elysee [presidential palace],” said prosecutor Yves Gambert.

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Local official Bernard Gonzalez said: “There was a real risk, real danger, he had an explosive charge around his neck … This was not fake.”

“It could have been dangerous for all the ‘yellow vests’ who spent the afternoon with him,” he said, adding that the man clearly had experience with explosives.

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner tweeted that the man had threatened to use “unidentified explosive elements and tampered grenades”.

The device was being inspected by experts, Gonzalez said.

The incident took place at the Espace Anjou shopping centre, near where “yellow vests” protesters in Angers have gathered for the last week.

The nationwide demonstrations have been led by mostly rural or small-town voters wearing high-visibility “yellow vests” who are fed up with rising fuel prices and the policies of unpopular President Emmanuel Macron.

The protest movement quickly disavowed the man.