1,723 arrested in 'yellow vest' protests in France

Wednesday, 12 Dec, 2018

Overwhelmingly made up of people from rural and small-town France, the movement nonetheless includes protesters of various political stripes whose goals range from lower taxes to Macron's resignation.

A bin is burning as school children demonstrate in Paris, Friday Dec.7, 2018. More than 500 people have been arrested.

Donald Trump quipped on Saturday that "The Paris Agreement isn't working out so well for Paris".

USA president Donald Trump shared his opinion that the protests showed that France should pull out of the Paris Climate accords, calling the non-binding agreement "ridiculous and extremely expensive".

The Eiffel Tower and Louvre Museum shut down Saturday along with hundreds of stores and businesses, fearing damage after rioting and looting last Saturday that saw 130 people injured and the worst urban unrest in Paris in decades. "The president will speak, and will propose measures that will feed this dialogue".

"You won't make it past Christmas, Emmanuel", read the graffiti on a boarded-up shop near the Champs-Elysees boulevard. Macron's government warned that Saturday's "yellow vest" protests in Paris will be hijacked by "radicalized and rebellious" crowds and become the most risky yet after three weeks of demonstrations. "We had set up an exceptional safety arrangement in the whole of France and Paris in particular to have the capacity to repel violent protesters and proceed to many arrests".

The demonstrations are not linked to the climate agreement.

The Yellow Jackets movement has no clear leader and has attracted groups of people with a wide variety of demands.

Speaking to reporters ahead of the weekend, when a fresh round of anti-government protests will be held throughout the country Saturday against spiraling living costs, Christophe Castaner said that unlike past weeks, fewer people will likely be taking part.

At the same time, he urged to consider the situation in France and note how the local police treated protestors.

Remy Heitz also said at a news conference on Sunday that the prosecutor's office was seeking preliminary charges against who they believe is the main person responsible for graffiti scrawled on the Arc de Triomphe last weekend. The government had been claiming that a fuel tax increase was to blame for the protests, but the government rescinded the increase on Wednesday.

Four people have been killed in accidents since the protests began on November 7.

But so far he has refused to back down on another policy hated by the "yellow vests": his decision to scrap a tax on the assets of France's wealthiest.

In France, authorities have also launched an investigation into social media activity from accounts allegedly drumming up support for the protests, sources told AFP. He gave no other details about the timing, content or format of Macron's next public address.

There are concerns that the protests could lead to a drop in tourism.

In Toulouse, in the south, a student protest earlier in the week ended with cars being burned in the streets.