French yellow vest protests met with huge security in Paris

Paris riots

Paris riots

A police spokeswoman told reporters there were about 1,500 protesters on the Champs Elysees boulevard.

Paris looked like a ghost town early on Saturday, with museums, department stores and the metro closed as riot police braced to meet "yellow vest" protesters in the capital and other French cities in a fourth weekend of confrontation over living costs.

After the plan was leaked, the French Interior Ministry "had to make changes" in its strategy and tactics to counter "the yellow vests protests, named after the reflective vests all French drivers are required to keep in their cars, according to the source".

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.

Workers hammered plywood over the windows of shops and businesses, making the plush Champs-Elysees neighborhood appear to be bracing for a hurricane.

On Friday he met gendarmes in the eastern Paris suburb of Nogent-sur-Marne ahead of the Saturday demonstrations.

The Eiffel Tower and scores of shops on the Champs-Elysees will be closed Saturday as a precaution, as will major museums including the Louvre.

By 8.40 am (0740 GMT) police had already detained 278 people.

Fearing last weekend's violence, the French Interior Minister, Christophe Castaner, said on Monday that the event should be postponed but the organisers chose to go ahead with it, reported French media.

But many "yellow vests" have urged fresh protests this weekend, claiming a series of of government concessions do not go far enough.

"The troublemakers can only be effective when they disguise themselves as yellow vests".

"But there's something not right here: if we demonstrate peacefully, the government ignores us".

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The situation found a receptive audience among Yellow Vest protests that are sweeping France and neighboring Belgium on Saturday.

Other pictures show rioters with their eyes streaming after tear gas was unleashed on the protesters.

Mr Macron said his motivation for the increase was environmental, but protesters accused him of being out of touch.

But protesters believe they are fighting for a fair cause.

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 US conservative activist Charlie Kirk.

"I've come to defend myself", he said, adding that Macron's mistake was trying to reform the French economy too quickly. Mr Trump blamed the Paris Climate Agreement for the escalating riots which have blighted the French capital for the past three weeks.

The renewed violence in Paris gave the impression of a government that is powerless against the uprising.

Protesters who travelled to Paris from Normandy described seeing officers block yellow-vested passengers from boarding at stops along their route. The national gendarme service posted a video on Twitter of police tackling a protester and confiscating his risky material, which appeared to be primarily a tennis racket.

Shops have been looted and vandalised and hundreds have been injured in the clashes which began on November 17 over record prices of fuel.

Police also clashed with protesters in the southwestern cities of Bordeaux and Toulouse, though elsewhere, such as Marseille, the demonstrations were peaceful.

U.S. President Donald Trump sought to fuel the anger in France, seizing the moment to criticize the Paris climate accord, which he is abandoning. People do not want to pay large sums of money, much to third-world countries (that are questionably run), in order to protest the environment.

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