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Violence breaks in Week 19 of the "Yellow Vest" protests



PARIS – The French security forces fled Saturday in Paris and other cities when the country was confronted with "yellow west" demonstrations on the 19th weekend following a violent wave of violence last week Authorities after months of dwindling numbers surprised calmer protests.

Although sporadic clashes broke out late in the day, the violence sank on Saturday as protesters marched peacefully in the French capital and elsewhere.

Almost 6,000 policemen were on the streets of Paris, especially near the Champs. Élysées and the Arc de Triomphe, which were the focus of the protests and where demonstrations were banned by the authorities last week.

In the afternoon, police in Paris survived the Yellow West, and the Ministry of the Interior estimated 3100 demonstrators in the capital nationwide 8,300. The Paris police said police officers had over 6,800 "preventive checks" of demonstrators and arrested 70 people.

In Paris, police stationed dozens of minibuses, water cannons and armored vehicles on the Champs-Elysées, and a few demonstrators challenged them. Instead, most Yellow West marched on a pre-approved route from the south of Paris to the Sacré-Coeur cathedral.

In his quest to overcome the Yellow Vest crisis, Macron also ran a week-long "Great National Debate" (19459010) in which people could voice their grievances. Tens of thousands have done so online, in special city hall registers and at meetings across the country.

But a small minority of demonstrators – 20,000 to 30,000 nationwide in the past few weeks – stuck to the Saturday ritual and increasingly gravitated towards violent masses aimed at symbols of government or prosperity.

Their anger has also been fueled by excessive use of force by the French police, notably through the use of rubber projectiles that have injured dozens of demonstrators.

Surveys after the protests of the past weekend showed that the support and sympathy of the Yellow West and its cause was still around 50 percent, but that figure had declined, with much less tolerance for violence.


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