0836 GMT May 22, 2019
Tension rose in Toulouse as thousands gathered for the first time since a controversial anti-rioting law took effect on April 11, AFP reported.
Several hundred people had begun marching in Paris by 1pm on Saturday.
Protests were also slated for Marseille, Grenoble, Lille and other cities.
On social media, yellow vest protesters in Toulouse were called on to keep up the fight against President Emmanuel “Macron and his world” and to “show that everything is just getting started after the results of the big debate”.
Less than one hour after the start of the demonstration, clashes broke out when protesters threw stones at the police.
The latter answered by firing tear gas.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on Monday presented the initial findings of a vast, nearly three-month-long public consultation known as the Grand Débat.
Macron launched the initiative in January in response to the yellow vest unrest saying he “intended to transform violence into solutions”.
The new anti-rioting law, which was partially censured by the country’s Constitutional Council before taking effect and which has been condemned by dozens of organizations, makes it illegal to cover one’s face during demonstrations. It took effect on Thursday.
Last week, “Act 21” of the protests drew 22,300 people into the streets, the Interior Ministry said, the lowest official figure since the demonstrations began in mid-November.
Saturday’s showing was due to serve as merely a foretaste to larger demonstrations slated for April 20, with Macron expected to present his response to the nationwide debate in a speech in the interim.