French protests continue for fifth consecutive week as disruption spreads

The French Interior Ministry is quoted as saying some 69,000 police officers were deployed on Saturday, many of whom were reinforcing police forces in Toulouse, Bordeaux and Saint-Etienne.

A protester wearing a “yellow vest” (gilet jaune) holds a baseball bat reading “Come closer Macron, I have something to tell you”
A protester wearing a “yellow vest” (gilet jaune) holds a baseball bat reading “Come closer Macron, I have something to tell you”

Nationwide protests continued in French cities for the fifth week in a row as thousands of yellow vest-wearing protesters demonstrated on Saturday against Emmanuel Macron's government, ignoring calls for restraint after a fatal shooting in Strasbourg earlier this week.

On the Champs-Elysees, a handful of topless activists from the feminist protest group Femen taunted police and security officers a few meters away from the Elysee Palace, the official residence of the President.

Large police deployments were seen in Paris, although this did not appear to have deterred many Christmas shoppers.

The French Interior Ministry is quoted as saying some 69,000 police officers were deployed on Saturday, many of whom were reinforcing police forces in Toulouse, Bordeaux and Saint-Etienne.

"France needs calm, order and a return to normal," Macron said, after a meeting of European Union leaders in Brussels on Friday.

The protests by the so-called 'yellow vest' movement against his government's policies have been on-going for over a month and have caused widespread disruption.

Initially protesting about fuel prices the 'yellow vest' appeared in mid-November with protests at junctions and roundabouts, but quickly mushroomed into a wider movement against Macron's economic policies.

Successive weekends of protests in Paris have resulted in acts of vandalism and violent clashes with security forces.

In a televised address to the nation on Monday, Macron had announced a number of concessions such as wage rises for the poorest workers and tax cuts for pensioners in a bid to undermine the movement, but many said they would continue to protest.

 

 

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