PARIS (AP) – Thousands of demonstrators marched Saturday in Paris and other French cities for the ninth consecutive weekend to denounce the economic policies of President Emmanuel Macron. Repeated tensions broke out with the police.
Sporadic violence erupted during protests in Paris, Bourges, Bordeaux, Rouen, Marseille and Toulouse.
Protesters walked peacefully into central Paris, from the Ministry of Finance east of the French capital to the Arc de Triomphe, to the west.
Clashes between police and activists then broke out near the monument at the end of the march. Police used tear gas, water cannons and flash balls to repel some people by throwing stones or other objects at them.
French security forces equipped with armored vehicles prevented the demonstrators from going to the Avenue des Champs-Élysées located nearby. The neighborhood was reopened to traffic by Saturday night.
The Interior Ministry said that more than 100 people had been arrested in Paris and other French cities, 82 of whom were held in police custody, mainly for carrying weapons or taking part in terrorist attacks. acts of violence.
The movement demanding broader changes in the French economy to help struggling workers seemed to be gaining momentum this weekend. The French Ministry of the Interior announced that nearly 32,000 people had gathered at noon to attend demonstrations of yellow vest.
Thousands of demonstrators marched in the central city of Bourges, capital of the province with its famous Gothic cathedral and its picturesque half-timbered houses.
The French authorities have deployed 80,000 security forces in the country for anti-government demonstrations and Interior Minister Christophe Castaner has threatened severe retaliation for the riots.
The Paris police deployed armored vehicles, horses and attack dogs Saturday in the city. Metro stations and some shops were closed, including around government buildings and the Champs-Elysees, the glittering avenue whose luxury shops were hit by repeated riots at previous events.
The movement for greater economic equality has faded over the holidays but seems to be reborn, despite Macron 's promises of tax relief for billions of euros and an imminent "national debate" to respond to the worries protesters that Macron should launch with a "letter to the French" on Monday.
The protests began in November with drivers opposed to gasoline tax increases, which is why participants wear the fluorescent vests that French motorists must keep in their vehicles. But it turned into a widespread uprising against years of contraction in purchasing power and Macron's pro-business policies.
Some groups of yellow vest hope to translate this anger into votes in the elections to the European Parliament in May.
Angela Charlton and Milos Krivokapic contributed to this report.
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