Paris: The police in the French capital on Saturday arrested 59 people in a preventative move aimed at stopping those suspected of seeking to fuel violence in the “yellow vests” movement that has gripped the country in recent weeks.
French media reported that around 1,000 protesters had gathered in Paris, the smallest showing in weeks of demonstrations. The movement began in opposition to government plan to hike taxes on fuel, but has since spread to take in other issues, including education reforms.
It was the fifth consecutive Saturday members of the loosely organised movement came out into the street, Efe news reported. On December 8, some 125,000 protesters rallied across the nation, 10,000 were concentrated in Paris.
Demonstrations were set to continue despite President Emmanuel Macron’s announcement that he planned to raise wages and cut taxes in a bid to abate the anger.
Scuffles broke out in the centre of the city and the police fired teargas to disperse a crowd trying to make their way through police lines, according to the BBC.
Some shops and department stores in Paris were closed for the day as the protesters defied calls by the French government urging them to stay home. Smaller protests were also reported in Toulouse, Grenoble and Lyon.
The rallies turned violent in the last few weeks, especially in Paris, where some demonstrators burned cars and vandalized shops.