France tells Trump to stop interfering in its politics

A demonstrator wearing a yellow vest holds a French flag as a vehicle burns on the Tuileries Garden in front of the Musee de l'Orangerie on Dec 1

On Saturday, anti-government protesters wrecked havoc in the city for the fourth Saturday in a row, hurling projectiles, torching cars and vandalising shops and restaurants.

About 125,000 protesters took to the streets on Saturday, with more than 1,200 taken into custody.

Overwhelmingly made up of people from rural and small-town France, the movement nonetheless includes protesters of various political stripes whose goals range from lower taxes to Macron's resignation.

He was referring to violent protests in France which saw fires in the capital, and police using tear gas and water cannons.

The number of people arrested during Saturday's protest movement "yellow jackets" in France has reached 1726.

The Eiffel Tower and Louvre are shut along with hundreds of stores and businesses.

"This chaos has to end", said Andre Juillard, a doctor, as he stood in line with other tired Parisians at a bakery near the Eiffel Tower, which reopened along with other monuments and museums after closing for security reasons on Saturday.

In addition, from the early hours, 36 subway stations remained closed.

About 8,000 police officers were deployed on the streets of Paris with thens of thousands more sent out throughout the rest of the country.

Last week Mr Macron withdrew a fuel tax hike, the issue that kicked off protests in mid-November, in an effort to appease the protesters, but the move was seen as too little too late.

Far-right leader Marine Le Pen - who is backed by some protesters from "forgotten" provincial France, but by no means all - called for Macron to "recognise society's suffering and deliver immediate, very strong responses".

The government says about 136,000 people protested across the country.

But so far he has refused to back down on another policy hated by the "yellow vests": his decision to scrap a tax on the assets of France's wealthiest.

Government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux said Macron would make "important announcements," which local media said could include raising the minimum wage and pensions and introducing a tax-free bonus for workers on low incomes, but he said the fixes wouldn't be simple.

Mr Macron's government had warned that the yellow vest protests had created a "monster" and the Paris actions would be hijacked by "radicalised and rebellious" crowds to become the most unsafe yet after three weeks of demonstrations.

Meanwhile Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian responded angrily to US President Donald Trump, who on Saturday in tweets appeared to suggest the Paris Climate Agreement was the reason for the unrest.

"This disorder must end", the former prime minister tweeted.

The protests have also begun to spread beyond France into other countries such as the Netherlands and Belgium.

"His comments about the French protests are completely out of character typically for a sitting U.S. president", said Michael Geary of the Wilson Institute's Global Europe Program.

While scattered scuffles broke out on Saturday around central Paris, the action seemed less violent overall at noon than at the same time a week ago, when crowds defaced the Arc de Triomphe, one of the city's most revered monuments, and rampaged in the surrounding high-end neighbourhood.



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