Yellow vests look to capitalize on protest momentum

Yellow vests look to capitalize on protest momentum

In December, Mr Macron said he was "partly responsible" for an "insufficient response" to the protests that have rocked the country every Saturday.

Police said 21 demonstrators had been arrested as scuffles broke out between protesters and police near the Champs-Elysees Avenue and the National Assembly.

They first started demonstrating against a now scrapped fuel tax rise but have grown into a wider protest against Mr Macron, whose approval rating has struggled to get above 30 per cent after he was dubbed the "president of the rich". Representatives for the yellow vest movement dispute that claim, according to the BBC.

The police responded with tear gas and anti-riot munitions. Police could not confirm French media reports that the hand of the demonstrator, who is now being treated in the hospital, was blown up by a grenade used to disperse unruly crowds.

"The government has to come out of its virtual reality and enter the real world", said Annamaria Furlan, the head of the Italian Confederation of Workers' Trade Unions Cisl. It wasn't pretty: "he was screaming with pain, he had no fingers - he didn't have much above the wrist", he said.

Police say the demonstrator, whose condition isn't now known, is being treated by emergency workers.

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"We mustn't give up", said pensioner Serge Mairesse, from Aubervilliers, just outside Paris.

Protests also took place in other French cities, including Marseille, Montpellier, Bordeaux and Toulouse, the BBC noted.

Interior ministry figures issued at 2pm put the turnout across France at 12,100, of whom 4,000 marched in Paris, down on the previous week's figures.

In the south of France police blocked yellow vest leader Maxime Nicolle from crossing into Italy to join forces with Italian demonstrators.

French prosecutors are meanwhile investigating a series of attacks on homes belonging to politicians in Macron's Republic on the Move party, ranging from vandalism to arson.

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