Published: Mon, January 07, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Women of French yellow vest group counter violent image

Women of French yellow vest group counter violent image

The interior ministry put the number of protesters who took to the streets on Saturday at 50,000, compared with 32,000 on Dec 29 when the movement appeared to be weakening after holding a series of weekly Saturday protests since mid-November.

Around a thousand protesters gathered on the Champs-Elysees in central Paris, where around 15 police wagons were also deployed, an AFP journalist said.

Further confrontations between police and protesters took place in other cities around France, with tear gas fired in Bordeaux and in Rouen, Normandy. A group of protesters stormed a government ministry in Paris amid heavy clashes with police.

On Saturday, this year's first "yellow vest" demonstrations were held around the country.

"The gilets jaunes movement for those who are still mobilized have become agitators who want insurrection and, basically, to overthrow the government", Griveaux later told reporters.

"We have to give power back to the people and not a minority that serves its own interests", said a second yellow vest protester outside the old stock market building.

It's named after the fluorescent protective gear French motorists must keep in their cars.

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The street protests began peacefully in the French capital but degenerated later on Saturday afternoon as protesters hurled missiles at riot police barricading bridges over the Seine river and torched garbage bins on the glitzy Boulevard Saint Germain.

Mr Griveaux said around a dozen individuals - some wearing black, some in yellow vests - used a small construction vehicle they found in the street to break through the door into the government compound.

Their numbers have fallen since Macron announced concessions in mid-December that included hiking the minimum wage and canceling a planned fuel tax increase that had sparked the first protests in November.

Faced with record low popularity ratings, Macron is expected soon to set out his plans for the coming months. Police temporarily detained one of the movement's more prominent figures, Eric Drouet, earlier this week for allegedly organizing an illegal demonstration.

Eighty per cent of respondents backed a right for citizens to propose referendums on issues of public interest, a demand repeatedly raised by protesters.

"When I see the millions spent on incredibly trivial things, when I see politicians using private planes and chauffeur-driven cars to get around (.) all this money spent is unacceptable", she told the Midi Libre newspaper.

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