Fewer French ‘Yellow Vests’ Take to Streets Ahead of Holidays

A protester is pushed by anti riot police officers during a demonstration in Brussels Saturday Dec. 22 2018

About 800 people marched Saturday in Paris, CNN French affiliate BFMTV reported, citing Paris police.

Riot police officers are seen on the Champs Elysees avenue with the Arc de Triomphe in the background. One officer appeared to point his gun at the protesters, but Paris police told the Associated Press he did not fire his weapon.

Several Chinese students studying in Italy were on a train from Paris to Versailles to visit the famous chateau, home to the French kings before the 1789 French Revolution.

City authorities said the "yellow vests" had caused "much more damage" than on December 1. Paris' other big tourist hotspots such as the Louvre museum and the Eiffel Tower, which had closed a couple of weeks back, are staying open though.

Demonstrators kept up traffic disruptions today, in another weekend of the protests which have forced President Emmanuel Macron to reverse unpopular policies and disrupted the French economy.

In a bid to end the protests, Macron announced a package of measures on Monday estimated by economists to cost up to 15 billion euros ($17 billion).

Being in Chad, the president stressed that he had constantly been in contacts with the Interior Minister of France, who closely followed the course of Saturday's protests.

People across France have been donning high-visibility vests for more than a month to express a range of grievances and demands, ranging from lower taxes and higher wages to better public services.

Media reports said the death toll from the protests rose to 10 on Saturday, after a driver was killed overnight in southern France after driving into a truck that had been stopped by a roadblock.

He also took aim at protesters who sang a song by controversial comedian Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala, a convicted anti-Semite, outside Sacre-Coeur church in Paris as well as those who decapitated an effigy of Macron in the western Charente region - two other incidents seen as evidence of growing radicalization and the presence of extremists within the movement.

It began with anger of a rise in taxes on gasoline and diesel, which is why the protesters wear the fluorescent emergency vests that all French motorists are required to carry in their vehicles.

Outside Paris, around 200 roundabouts remained occupied across the country.

Around 50 "yellow vests" briefly blocked trucks near the border between France and Spain before gendarmes stepped in.



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