Clashes Reported in France’s 4th Week of Violent Protests

Clashes Reported in France’s 4th Week of Violent Protests

Police installed special reinforced barricades in the posh streets around the presidential Elysee palace.

Much of Paris looked like a ghost town on Saturday, with museums, department stores closed on what should have been a festive pre-Christmas shopping day.

With further "significant violence" expected on Saturday, Paris is going into effective lockdown, with the Eiffel Tower and scores of shops on the Champs-Elysees to close as a precaution, as well major museums including the Louvre.

The grassroots movement began as resistance against a rise in taxes for diesel and petrol, but quickly expanded to encompass frustration at stagnant incomes, the growing cost of living and other grievances.

Mr Macron agreed to abandon the fuel tax hike, but that has not defused the anger, embodied by the fluorescent safety vests French motorists are required to keep in their cars.

The number of arrests is now approaching 1,000 according to Le Figaro who say that just over 950 people have been arrested and 724 placed into custody across the country.

"At the national level, including Paris, we're at more than 700 detained with participation in the movement at 31,000 nationwide including 8,000 in Paris", he told France 2 television.

Police also confiscated surgical masks and goggles used to protect against the effects of tear gas. Former French Legion General Christian Piquemal was spotted at the protests wearing a yellow vest and giving a speech about illegal migration on the Champs-Elysées.

Police posted a video on Twitter of officers tackling a protester and confiscating his unsafe material, which appeared to be primarily a tennis racket.

The Paris edition of the march saw its route modified at the last minute in order to avoid potential spillover from the Yellow Vest protests that have had the city on tenterhooks for a fourth consecutive Saturday, but organisers rejected authorities' entreaties to postpone to event.

Blocked by police, they tried other routes.

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Protesters smashed street signs and traffic lights near a police barricade blocking access to the office of Prime Minister Charles Michel, as they chanted slogans calling on him to resign.

Officials are also concerned about far-right, anarchist and anti-capitalist groups like Black Bloc that have mimicked the "yellow vest" movement. No injuries have been reported.

About 89,000 police were deployed across the country, with 8,000 in Paris alone.

Heavily armed French police deployed tear gas and stun grenades against an army of Yellow Vests gathered in central Paris demanding Emmanuel Macron's head.

"We are here to tell (Macron) our discontent".

"The protesters want President Trump because some of them recognize that in 2016 the American people found the courage to elect a president who would be willing to stand up against the united forces of Marxism, globalism and political correctness".

"I want clean air and clean water and have been making great strides in improving America's environment".

Interior Minister Christopher Castaner said that he expects radical elements to be present in Paris and that "the past three weeks have given birth to a monster that has escaped its creators".

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on Friday met a delegation of self-described "moderate" yellow vests, and a spokesman from the movement, Christophe Chalencon, said the premier had "listened to us and promised to take our demands to the president".

Four people have died in accidents during the protests and political leaders have appealed for calm.

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