Paris Again Rocked By "Yellow Vest" Riots

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As the French "yellow vest" movement continued on Saturday, with 50,000 protesters marching through Paris and across France according to the French government, president Emmanuel Macron has denounced the "extreme violence" of some clashes that erupted at the Paris march.

The predominantly female crowd descended in the morning on the Place de la Bastille, blocking traffic, before heading toward Place de la Republique, the France Info radio said.

The small Line News agency got more than 1.7 million Twitter views for footage showing a man - apparently a boxer - taking on riot police with his bare hands and, along with other protesters forcing them back on the bridge. BFMTV, quoting several police sources, estimated the number of protesters in the French capital in mid-afternoon at 3,500.

His administration had hardened its stance against the yellow vests after the protest movement appeared to have lost momentum over the Christmas holidays.

Laurent Berger, head of the reform-minded CFDT trade union, France's largest by members, on Sunday accused Macron's government of going it alone while ignoring the legitimate concerns of those who support the complaints, if not always the tactics, of the Yellow Vest protesters.

In Paris, the street marches began peacefully but degenerated when some protesters threw punches at baton-wielding officers, torched electric scooters and garbage bins along the Left Bank's upscale Boulevard Saint Germain and set cars ablaze near the Champs Elysees.

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Macron has promised a national debate on the wide range of issues raised by the movement, including taxation, the cost of living, democracy and public services.

It was the first such attack on government property since the yellow vest movement began weekly protests eight Saturdays ago, in mid-November.

Police using tear gas as marchers tried to storm the the lower house of parliament on Saturday has been met with a hail of missiles. They also broke some windows and damaged some cars. One known figure in the movement, Eric Drouet, was detained overnight this week for allegedly organizing an illegal demonstration, his second arrest.

The French government has condemned mindless acts of violence against both civilians and the police as numerous videos have surfaced online showing violent altercations between rioters and security officers.

It was the first big U-turn for a president elected 18 months earlier on a platform to break with traditional French politics and liberalise the heavily regulated economy.

"It should be given instead to people in need".

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