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


A ring of steel surrounded the Elysee Palace itself as police stationed trucks and reinforced steel barriers in streets throughout the neighbourhood.

The U.S. State Department has upgraded its travel advisory to a level 2 for France, warning travelers to exercise increased caution because of the protests.

French authorities will close dozens of museums, tourism sites and shops on Saturday, including the Eiffel Tower and Louvre, fearing a recurrence of last week's violence in Paris, officials said on Thursday.

On Tuesday Philippe announced the government was suspending planned increases to fuel taxes for at least six months to help defuse weeks of protests, the first U-turn by Macron since he came to power 18 months ago.

So far Paris police have deployed tear gas on protesters trying to march to the presidential palace.

Police are searching people throughout central Paris and confiscating goggles and gas masks from journalists, who use them to protect against tear gas while covering demonstrations.

The next day, he paid a two-hour unannounced visit to Puy-en-Velay, in central France, where protesters earlier had set the provincial government's headquarters on fire.

Paris police detained almost 300 people Saturday ahead of fresh anti-government "yellow vest" protests which authorities fear could turn violent for a third weekend in a row.

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A few dozen demonstrators wearing the movement's signature neon vests gathered before dawn Saturday near the Arc de Triomphe, which was damaged in last week's rioting. So the protesters tried other routes, marching through the prime shopping district that includes the high-end stores of Galeries Lafayette and Printemps and the Palais Garnier opera house.

A protestor holds a tear gas canister during a demonstration against rising costs of living, on the Champs Elysees in Paris on Saturdya, Dec. 8, 2018. The city subway system was shut down in the centre of town. Dijkgraaf said people are yearning for a past, more socially equitable, era of Dutch history, describing it as "a feeling of unity, but also looking after asylum-seekers well, taking good care of one another". No injuries have been reported. Nationwide, 89,000 security forces fanned out to deter or confront troublemakers expected at multiple protests.

Authorities said 575 people had been searched and briefly arrested and that 361 of them remained in custody after police found potential weapons such as hammers, baseball bats and metal petanque balls on them.

Mr Macron has been largely invisible in recent days, leaving his prime minister and government to try to negotiate with protesters.

Shops have been looted and vandalised and hundreds have been injured in the clashes which began on November 17 over record prices of fuel. Christmas markets, national football matches and countless other events have been cancelled or disrupted by the protests. "He was taken to hospital but his life is not in danger", Brussels police spokeswoman Ilse Van De Keere told AFP, adding that the protesters had hurled projectiles and paving stones.

Protesters have also blocked roads, roundabouts and tollbooths elsewhere in France.

Despite the climbdown, the "yellow vests" continue to demand more concessions from the government, including lower taxes, higher salaries, cheaper energy costs, better retirement provisions and even Macron's resignation.