0724 GMT September 23, 2019
In Paris, police were out in force to contain possible outbursts of violence. But several major stores were open to welcome Christmas shoppers. Numbers were down compared to Saturday last week, Reuters reported.
Teargas was fired at small groups of protesters in brief clashes with riot police near the Champs-Elysees.
The ‘yellow vest’ movement started in mid-November with protests at junctions and roundabouts against fuel tax increases, but quickly became a wider mobilization against Macron’s economic policies.
Successive weekends of protests in Paris have led to vandalism and violent clashes with security forces.
Loic Bollay, 44, marching on the Champs-Elysees in a yellow vest, said the protests were more subdued than in previous weeks but the movement would go on until the demonstrators’ grievances were addressed.
The Interior Minister said around 69,000 police were active on Saturday with a reinforced presence in the cities of Toulouse, Bordeaux and Saint-Etienne.
According to official figures, 33,500 protesters had been counted in France compared to 77,000 on Dec. 8.
In Paris, some 2,200 protesters had been seen marching in splintered groups in several neighborhoods, and 95 had been arrested by around midday, according to a Paris police official.
On Friday, President Macron called for a return to calm in France after nearly a month of protests by the so-called ‘yellow vest’ movement against his government’s policies. The demonstrations have hit growth and caused widespread disruption.