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“Yellow Vests” stage more protests against Macron’s policy, but participant number drops

PARIS (Xinhua) -- Thousands of people wearing yellow vests took to the streets across France on Saturday to protest against rising fuel prices and high costs of living.
But the movement appeared to be waning days after French President Emmanuel Macron offered more concessions.

“Yellow Vests” protesters gather at the Opera Square in Paris, France.

By 6:00 pm local time (1700 GMT) on Saturday, the Interior Ministry said nationwide marches had mustered 66,000 participants compared to 125,000 on Dec. 8 at the corresponding time.
In Paris, by 2:00 pm local time (1300 GMT) the number was put at 2,200, down from 10,000 a week ago.
Saturday was the fifth weekend day of protests coordinated by “Yellow Vests”, the high-visibility jackets all motorists in France carry in their cars, via social media against the French president’s economic reform and fiscal strategy. Despite determination of some to continue the action, the movement seemed to have lost momentum.
“The mobilisation has weakened, which is from my point of view, it’s necessary because it has been overwhelmingly responded to their demands and because the time for dialogue has come,” Richard Ferrand, the National Assembly president told CNews television.
Unlike the last weekends which have been marred by vandalism and violent scruffles with security forces, the fresh wave of countrywide protests were relatively calm.
According to Paris prefecture, 168 people had been detained in the French capital, while more than 100 were still in police custody. Seven demonstrators were injured in Paris and several others were reported wounded in Nantes in southwestern France.
Defying freezing temperatures, demonstrators walked in the Champs Elysees avenue, waving tricolor flags and chanting the national anthem and anti-Macron slogans under the watch of security forces poured massively in the capital to prevent chaotic situation that have dented the world top tourist destination for weeks.
Some of them held a sit-in near the Palais de Tokyo museum in the 16th district of Paris after a brief standoff with anti-riot police who fired tear gas to push back the crowd which tried to break through security cordons.
Gathered in the Opera square, they called for a “citizens’ initiative referendum” to allow people to have stronger say to define the economic and social roadmap for the eurozone’s second main powerhouse.

 


(Latest Update
December 17,
2018)


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