Police arrest protesters in Paris, turn others away

In a speech to 60 world leaders at the Arc de Triomphe French President Emmanuel Macron eulogised the United Nations and declared nationalism the

Angry protesters on Saturday tried to rip the boards off.

Police also confiscated from protesters any equipment that could be used as protection such as helmets, protective glasses, and cartridges of saline solution for the eyes.

Saturday's yellow vest crowd was overwhelmingly male, a mix of those bringing their financial grievances to Paris - the centre of France's government, economy and culture - along with groups of experienced vandals who tore steadily through some of the city's wealthiest neighbourhoods, smashing and burning.

The protesters in Paris are demonstrating against a planned fuel cost hike, which the government has since backed away from, and cost of living increases. Some protesters took aim at the French border with Italy, creating a huge traffic backup near the town of Ventimiglia.

More than 89,000 officers were deployed to maintain order, including 8,000 in Paris where demonstrators a week ago torched cars, fought with riot police and vandalized the Arc de Triomphe. It did not succeed, even though it was better prepared.

The U.S. Embassy requested that Americans in the French capital "keep a low profile and avoid crowds", the report said.

French authorities deployed almost 90,000 police across the country, detained hundreds of people and closed major landmarks and museums out of precaution.

The streets of Paris were filled with thousands of protesters again on Saturday, in what has become French President Emmanuel Macron's biggest challenge as demonstrations grow more intense. The window of a nearby bank was smashed in with a wrought-iron decoration used to encircle city tree trunks. The Eiffel Tower and Louvre Museum were among tourist attractions that remained closed, fearing damage after rioting and looting last Saturday that saw 130 people injured.

This weekend, six matches in the top tier of France's football league were postponed. By mid-afternoon, more than 700 people had been stopped and questioned, and more than 400 were being held in custody, according to a Paris police spokeswoman.

Gendarmerie armored vehicles and vans parked during a "yellow vests" protest at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France, December 8, 2018.

One participant, Christophe Chalancon, told reporters the prime minister "listened to us". "Me, I'm not here to break things because I have four children so I am going to try to be safe for them, because they are afraid", said protester Myriam Diaz. "But I still want to be here to say 'Stop, that's enough"'.

Protests at some 280 schools against stricter university entrance requirements have added to a sense of general revolt in France as the "yellow vest" protests rumble on.

Trump did not provide any evidence for his claim that Paris protesters have chanted their support for him, but on Tuesday retweeted a tweet in which the claim was made by USA conservative activist Charlie Kirk. At least two protesters were detained by police in central Amsterdam. This was his third weekend of protesting in Paris.

French President Emmanuel Macron, who swept into office in 2017 as an economic reformist, has said the tax is necessary to fight climate change and meet budget deficit reduction targets, but critics have slammed him as a president for the rich. "He's done more in 18 months than the others in 30 years".

The fuel tax increases were Macron's attempt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fulfill his country's part in the Paris climate agreement by making it easier for cleaner sources of energy to compete.

Tear gas had dissipated and a standoff was over. Offshoot movements have emerged elsewhere, and yellow-vest protests were planned Saturday in Belgium and the Netherlands. The protesters in Brussels threw paving stones, road signs, fireworks, flares and other objects at police and about 100 were detained.



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