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Chief Bakes

BBC: Yellow vests: France protests 'created a monster', says minister

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Chief Bakes

France fuel protests: 80-year-old woman killed in Marseille

  • 3 December 2018
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Media captionFrance fuel protests: Who are the people in the yellow vests?

An 80-year-old woman has died after being hit by a tear gas canister at her window during Saturday's fuel protests in the French city of Marseille.

The woman, who lived in an apartment near to where the protests were taking place, was hit in the face while closing the shutters.

Protests over fuel tax have grown into general anger at higher living costs.

The woman was taken to hospital, but died during an operation after suffering shock, local media report.

Three other people have been killed in the protests since demonstrations started more than two weeks ago, police said on Sunday.

France's interior ministry says about 136,000 people took part in the protests nationwide on Sunday, showing widespread support for the movement known as the "gilets jaunes" (yellow vests), who complain about a sharp increase in fuel taxes.

They are so called because they have taken to the streets wearing the high-visibility yellow clothing that is required to be carried in every vehicle by French law.

The group has cancelled a planned meeting with Prime Minister Edouard Philippe scheduled for Tuesday.

The BBC's Hugh Schofield in Paris says more moderate members of the movement who said they would be prepared to talk are being shouted down by more extreme elements, and have been receiving death threats.

A spokesperson for the "yellow vest" movement, Christophe Chalençon, called for the government to resign on Monday, to be replaced by what he termed "a true commander, like Gen de Villiers".

Gen Pierre de Villiers is a former head of the French armed forces who quit after a clash with President Emmanuel Macron over budget cuts.

How has the government responded?

The French president held an urgent security meeting earlier on Monday. Ministers said that while no options had been ruled out, imposing a state of emergency had not been discussed during the talks.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe also spoke with leaders of the opposition on Monday.

Far-right leader Marine Le Pen, who was at the meeting, warned that Mr Macron could become the first president to give the order to open fire on his own people in 50 years. She said he should scrap increases in fuel duty, lower gas and electricity prices and end a freeze on the minimum wage and minimum pension.

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire met with business representatives to assess the damage caused to businesses over the weekend.

"The impact is severe and ongoing," Mr Le Maire told the AFP news agency.

Some retailers had seen sales drop by around 20-40% during the demonstrations, while some restaurants had lost 20-50% of their takings, he added.

Do the protests show any sign of stopping?

Protests have continued into Monday.

About 50 "yellow vests" blocked access to a major fuel depot in the port of Fos-sur-Mer, near Marseille, and petrol stations across the country have run out of fuel.

Restrictions have been put in place in Brittany on the amount of petrol motorists are allowed to buy.

Students in about 100 secondary schools across the country held demonstrations against educational and exam reforms.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Changes affecting ambulance drivers are part of a raft of reforms by French President Emmanuel Macron

Also on Monday, French private ambulance drivers staged further demonstrations against a range of social security and healthcare reforms they say could affect their services.

Dozens of trucks formed a blockade from Paris's Place de la Concorde to the French National Assembly.

One protester told the Reuters news agency: "[The reforms] will bludgeon us financially and destroy our companies. We're going to have to fire people, that's for sure."

It is unclear whether the groups of students and health workers have directly aligned themselves with the "yellow vests".

Image caption Newspapers speak of a "national political crisis"

French media shocked by worst rioting since 1968

By BBC Monitoring

There is shock and anger in the mainstream French press after "yellow vest" protesters ran riot in Paris neighbourhoods, burning cars and looting shops.

Left-wing daily Libération says: "Paris has undoubtedly experienced the most violent rallies since the events of May '68." The paper notes the "heterogeneity" of the protesters - from nationalists and far-right student groups to hard-left militants and anarchists.

In an editorial entitled "National emergency", centre-right daily Le Figaro says that 1 December will "remain a collective injury for the nation". It comments that "in the face of this explosion of inexcusable violence", the whole country "had the feeling of witnessing the collapse of the state".

Business daily Les Echos says in its headline that President Emmanuel Macron "is facing chaos".

"After the violent scenes on Saturday, the Elysée is still looking for a strong political response," the paper notes.

Centre-left daily Le Monde speaks of a "major political crisis" and notes that after returning from Argentina, President Macron immediately went to the Arc de Triomphe in central Paris which was a "scene of violence".

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Chief Bakes

France fuel protests: 'Yellow vests' pull out of PM meeting

  • 4 December 2018
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Media captionFrance fuel protests: Who are the people in the yellow vests?

Protesters from France's "gilet jaunes" (yellow vests) movement have pulled out of a meeting with Prime Minister Edouard Philippe scheduled for Tuesday.

Some members of the group said they received death threats from hard-line protesters warning against entering into negotiations with the government.

The "yellow vests" have been protesting about a controversial fuel tax since mid-November.

But the protests now reflect widespread anger at the government.

France's interior ministry says about 136,000 people took part in the protests nationwide on Sunday.

Three people have died since the unrest began and the resulting violence and vandalism of public spaces have been widely condemned.

"Yellow-vests" are so called because they have taken to the streets wearing the high-visibility yellow clothing that is required to be carried in every vehicle by French law.

The movement has grown via social media to encompass broader criticism of President Emmanuel Macron's economic policies, with supporters across the political spectrum.

Mr Macron has accused his political opponents of hijacking the movement in order to block his reform programme.

How has the government responded?

The French president held an urgent security meeting on Monday. Ministers said that while no options had been ruled out, imposing a state of emergency had not been discussed during the talks.

Mr Macron has also cancelled a planned trip to Serbia to concentrate on the crisis.

Culture Minister Franck Riester told reporters that the Prime Minister Philippe would announce "a strong conciliatory gesture in the coming days", without giving details.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Private ambulance drivers protested against reforms to the healthcare system

Mr Philippe also spoke with leaders of the opposition on Monday.

Far-right leader Marine Le Pen, who was at the meeting, warned that Mr Macron could become the first president to give the order to open fire on his own people in 50 years.

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire met business representatives to assess the damage caused to businesses over the weekend.

Some retailers had seen sales drop by around 20-40% during the demonstrations, while some restaurants had lost 20-50% of their takings, he added.

Do the protests show any sign of stopping?

Protests continued into Monday. About 50 "yellow vests" blocked access to a major fuel depot in the port of Fos-sur-Mer, near Marseille, and petrol stations across the country have run out of fuel.

Students in about 100 secondary schools across the country held demonstrations against educational and exam reforms.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Changes affecting ambulance drivers are part of a raft of reforms by French President Emmanuel Macron

Also on Monday, French private ambulance drivers staged further demonstrations against a range of social security and healthcare reforms they say could affect their services.

One protester told the Reuters news agency: "[The reforms] will bludgeon us financially and destroy our companies. We're going to have to fire people, that's for sure."

It is unclear whether the groups of students and health workers have directly aligned themselves with the "yellow vests".

One member of the movement, a man in his 20s, is in a critical condition in hospital in Toulouse.

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  • 4 December 2018
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The French government will suspend a fuel tax rise which has led to weeks of violent protests, local media report.

The protests have hit major French cities causing major damage for the past three weekends.

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Yellow vests: France protests 'created a monster', says minister

  • 7 December 2018
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Masked protesters confront police near the Arc de Triomphe, Paris (1 December) Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The protests in Paris on 1 December were the most violent in years

Anti-government protests in France have "created a monster", France's Interior Minister Christophe Castaner has said.

And he is warning that "radical elements" could infiltrate planned "yellow vest" protests at the weekend.

Tourist sites in Paris are to close on Saturday amid fears of further street violence.

The protests began three weeks ago, initially against a rise in fuel taxes but have spread to take in other issues, including education reforms.

Mr Castaner said "large-scale security measures" would be put in place this weekend.

Across France, 89,000 police officers will be on duty and armoured vehicles will be deployed in the capital, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced.

Paris police have urged shops and restaurants on the Champs-Elysees to shut and some museums will also be closed.

The government has said it is scrapping the unpopular fuel tax increases in its budget - but discontent with the government has spread and protests have erupted over other issues.

What has the government said?

Mr Castaner told reporters that the past three weeks of demonstrations had "created a monster that escaped from its creators."

He said authorities would respond with "firmness".

He went on: "I will have no tolerance of those who capitalise on the distress of our citizens."

An official with the interior ministry told AFP news agency authorities were braced for "significant violence" on Saturday, with activists from both the far right and far left planning to converge on the capital.

In an interview with TV channel TF1, Mr Philippe said 8,000 police would be deployed in Paris as well as a dozen armoured vehicles.

He repeated an appeal for calm but added: "We are facing people who are not here to protest, but to smash and we want to have the means not to give them a free rein."

Earlier, Mr Philippe suggested there might be further concessions to protesters, telling the Senate that the government was open to new measures to help the lowest-paid workers.

How will Paris be affected?

The operator of the Eiffel Tower said the threat of violent protests on Saturday made it impossible to ensure "adequate security conditions".

City authorities say they are stepping up protection for famous landmarks after the Arc de Triomphe was damaged last week.

Museums, including the Louvre and Orsay, opera houses and the Grand Palais complex will close on Saturday.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Police secured the Trocadero place near the Eiffel Tower during last week's demonstrations

Police have asked businesses along the Champs-Elysees and other major shopping streets to stay closed and to remove any outdoor items such as tables and chairs.

Several football matches have also been postponed, including those between Paris and Montpellier, and Saint-Etienne and Marseille.

What other protests have there been?

On Thursday young people took to the streets, protesting over education reforms.

More than 140 people were arrested when a protest outside a school in Mantes-la-Jolie, to the west of Paris, ended in clashes with police. Two cars were set on fire.

Pictures of the arrests, in which the students were made to kneel and put their hands behind their heads, sparked outrage on social media. French broadcaster BFMTV said the incident lasted "several hours."

"Now there's a well-behaved class," a police office was heard saying on video.

The town's police chief told Le Monde newspaper that those arrested were suspected of taking part in an "armed gathering", adding that officers had wanted to break up a situation that was getting "out of control."

Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said he was "clearly shocked", by the events but added that they must be put in "context". Mr Castaner described the images as "tough" to watch but added that the students had been joined by armed protesters.

Dozens of schools were blockaded in cities including Marseille, Nantes and Paris. Students have been angered by President Emmanuel Macron's plans to change the end-of-school exam, known as the baccalaureate, which is required for entrance to university.

Critics fear the reforms will limit opportunity and breed inequality.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Students at Saint-Exupéry high school in Mantes-la-Jolie were detained by police

Who are the protesters?

The "gilets jaunes" protesters, so-called because they have taken to the streets wearing the high-visibility yellow clothing that is required to be carried in every vehicle by French law, initially complained at a sharp increase in diesel taxes.

Mr Macron said his motivation for the increase was environmental, but protesters accused him of being out of touch.

The government later scrapped the plan but the yellow vest protesters were not placated. Last week, the movement - despite a lack of central leadership - issued more than 40 demands to government.

Among them were a minimum pension, widespread changes to the tax system, and a reduction in the retirement age.

The protest movement has gained momentum via social media, encompassing a whole range of participants from the anarchist far left to the nationalist far right, and moderates in between.

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Yellow vest movement: Paris police fire tear gas at protesters

  • 8 December 2018
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Media captionProtesters surged forward before tear gas was fired

Police in Paris have fired tear gas on protesters as a fourth weekend of anti-government protests turned violent.

Up to 5,000 demonstrators have gathered in the city centre, and at least 272 people have been arrested.

Some 8,000 officers and 12 armoured vehicles have been deployed in Paris alone, and nearly 90,000 in the country as a whole.

The "yellow vest" movement opposed fuel tax rises but ministers say it's been hijacked by "ultra-violent" protesters.

Last week, hundreds of people were arrested and scores injured in violence in Paris - some of the worst street clashes in the French capital for decades.

What is happening this weekend?

About 5,000 people gathered on the Champs-Elysées and marched a short distance to a police cordon, where they stopped.

There have been a few confrontations, with police firing tear gas at protesters in a side street as tensions flared.

Image copyright AFP

Different police tactics

By Hugh Schofield, BBC News, Paris

At the top end of the Champs-Elysées, near the Arc de Triomphe, there are sporadic upsurges of tension, when riot police move out from their positions to retake ground and push back the more aggressive of the protesters.

There are occasional projectiles being thrown at the police, and some tear gas - but so far the disorder is contained, and nothing like on the scale of last Saturday.

The police are using different tactics - they're much more mobile and are using snatch squads to seize identified troublemakers.

According to the authorities, there have already been nearly 500 arrests. Many of those will have been of people journeying to, rather than at, the scene of the protests - and found to be carrying projectiles.

As the day moves on, the government must be hoping that this comparatively restrained level of trouble remains the norm.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Protesters were able to march some distance along the Champs-Elysées

Police have stopped more than 500 people in Paris and at least 272 are in custody.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said the numbers of arrests were greater than during the whole of the previous weekend.

"We will ensure that the rest of Saturday unfolds in the best possible conditions," he said.

Meanwhile on the outskirts of Paris, protesters blocked Porte Maillot, one of the main routes into the city from the outer ring road. Yellow vests briefly stopped traffic on the ring road itself, the Boulevard Périphérique, before being cleared by police.

Correspondents say more flashpoints are possible on the edge of the city, where it is harder for police to filter protesters.

Demonstrations are being held in several other cities including Lyon, Marseille and Grenoble, where a local leader of the yellow vests is reported to have been arrested.

Protests against climate change are also expected in some cities including Paris.

The number of security officers deployed across the country has increased to 89,000, up from 65,000 last weekend. even though Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said he expected fewer protesters - perhaps 10,000 in all.

"Ten thousand is not the people - it's not France," he said.

The security forces are seeking to prevent a repeat of last weekend in the capital, where the Arc de Triomphe was vandalised, police were attacked and cars overturned and burned.

Mr Castaner has vowed "zero tolerance" towards violence.

The barricade-smashing armoured vehicles have not been seen in the Paris area since riots erupted in poor suburbs in 2005.

On social media, some activists have called for attacks on police and the Élysée palace in an "Act IV" drama.

One MP, Benoît Potterie, received a bullet in the post, accompanied by the words: "Next time it will be between your eyes."

Six matches in the top tier of France's football league have been postponed. The Louvre, Musée d'Orsay and other sites are closed in Paris.

Where are we with the yellow vest movement?

The "gilets jaunes" protesters are so-called because they have taken to the streets wearing the high-visibility yellow clothing that is required to be carried in every vehicle by French law.

The BBC's Lucy Williamson in Paris says that over the past few weeks, the social media movement has morphed from a protest over fuel prices to a leaderless spectrum of interest groups and differing demands.

Its core aim, to highlight the economic frustration and political distrust of poorer working families, still has widespread support, our correspondent says.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Education policy is one of the many areas to which protests have spread

An opinion poll on Friday showed a dip in support, but it still stood at 66%.

President Emmanuel Macron's ratings have fallen amid the crisis, and he is planning a national address next week, his office has said. Some have criticised him for keeping too low a profile.

What has the government conceded?

The government has said it is scrapping the unpopular fuel tax increases in its budget and has frozen electricity and gas prices for 2019.

The problem is that protests have erupted over other issues.

Granting concessions in some areas may not placate all the protesters, some of whom are calling for higher wages, lower taxes, better pensions, easier university requirements and even the resignation of the president.

Some of his critics call him "the president of the rich".

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Yellow vest protests: France's Édouard Philippe seeks 'unity' after unrest

  • 9 December 2018
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French officers apprehend a protester during a Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Many more people were detained on 8 December than during the previous weekends

French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe has vowed to "restore national unity" after violence broke out during a fourth consecutive weekend of protests.

Police used tear gas and rubber bullets on Saturday - the latest day of "yellow vest" demonstrations against fuel tax rises and high living costs.

Almost 1,000 people were taken into custody but the violence was not on the same level as a week earlier.

Discussions with peaceful protesters "must continue", Mr Philippe said.

He added: "No tax should jeopardise our national unity. We must now rebuild that national unity through dialogue, through work, and by coming together."

He said President Emmanuel Macron - who many protesters want to stand down - would soon "put forward measures to foster this dialogue".

French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner praised police - who had been deployed in force - for containing much of the unrest.

p06v0rbg.jpg
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionProtesters surged forward before tear gas was fired

In a tweet late on Saturday, Mr Macron thanked the security forces for their "courage and exceptional professionalism".

What happened on Saturday?

An estimated 125,000 people took part in marches across the country on Saturday, the interior ministry said.

Nearly 90,000 officers had been deployed, including 8,000 in Paris where 12 armoured vehicles were also used.

Around 10,000 people demonstrated in the capital, where the scenes were the most destructive. Windows were smashed, cars were burned and shops were looted.

Image copyright Reuters

Video footage showed protesters hit by rubber bullets - including in the face. At least three members of the press were among those hit.

Seventeen police officers were also hurt, Mr Castaner said.

Protest timeline

  • 17 November: 282,000 protesters - one dead, 409 wounded - 73 in custody
  • 24 November: 166,000 protesters - 84 wounded - 307 in custody
  • 1 December: 136,000 protesters - 263 wounded - 630 in custody
  • 8 December : 125,000 protesters - 118 wounded - 974 in custody

What next for Macron?

By Hugh Schofield, BBC News, Paris

The French government is relieved that its worst forebodings about the protests did not come to pass.

There was certainly some violence in Paris, but it was not on the scale of the week before.

The new tactics of the police - record numbers of officers deployed, moving quickly to occupy the ground and not hesitating to make arrests - paid off. Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said the escalation of violence had been stopped.

It is a relief for President Macron - but not much more. He must know that the moment will be thrown away if he does not move in quickly now with ideas that go some way to satisfying the more moderate of the yellow vests.

The time is for dialogue, the government says, and the president will make an address to the nation early this week.

The question is will he give the protesters what they want, which is something very simple: more money in their pockets. Does he think France can afford to economically?

Where are we with the yellow vest movement?

The "gilets jaunes" protesters are so-called because they have taken to the streets wearing the high-visibility yellow clothing that is required to be carried in every vehicle by French law.

Over the past few weeks, the social media movement has morphed from a protest over fuel prices to a leaderless spectrum of interest groups and differing demands.

Its core aim, to highlight the economic frustration and political distrust of poorer working families, still has widespread support.

p06tzyz1.jpg
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionGilets Jaunes: Are nationalists infiltrating the "yellow vests"?

An opinion poll on Friday showed a dip in support for the protests, but it still stood at 66%.

Meanwhile, President Emmanuel Macron's ratings have fallen to 23% amid the crisis, polls suggest.

What has the government conceded?

The government has said it is scrapping the unpopular fuel tax increases in its budget and has frozen electricity and gas prices for 2019.

The problem is that protests have erupted over other issues.

Granting concessions in some areas may not placate all the protesters, some of whom are calling for higher wages, lower taxes, better pensions, easier university requirements and even the resignation of the president.

Some of Mr Macron's critics call him "the president of the rich".


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Yellow vest protests 'economic catastrophe' for France

  • 9 December 2018
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A view of the Place de la Republique as protesters wearing yellow vests gather during a national day of protest by the Image copyright Reuters
Image caption About 10,000 took to the streets of Paris

The "yellow vest" protests have been "a catastrophe" for the French economy, the finance minister says.

France has seen four consecutive weekends of demonstrations against fuel tax rises, high living costs, and other issues.

About 125,000 protesters took to the streets on Saturday, with more than 1,700 people arrested.

Several tourist sites, including the Eiffel Tower and Louvre Museum, are closed this weekend.

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire called the situation "a crisis" for both society and democracy.

"It's a catastrophe for commerce, it's a catastrophe for our economy," he said during a visit to shops in Paris that had been damaged during the protests.

The capital was particularly badly hit, with windows smashed, cars burned, and shops looted, as 10,000 people took part in demonstrations.

"There was much more damage yesterday than a week ago" because Saturday's protests were more dispersed, deputy mayor Emmanuel Gregoire told local radio.

However, he added that there had been fewer injuries compared with last week.

p06v196j.jpg
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionProtesters have taken to the streets of Paris for another weekend of demonstrations

President Emmanuel Macron - who many protesters want to stand down - will address the nation in the coming days.

How bad is the economic damage?

It is too early to calculate the full economic cost - but it's clear the damage is severe.

Image copyright Getty Images

On Friday, the French retail federation told Reuters news agency that retailers had lost about 1bn euros ($1.1bn; £900m) since the protests first began on 17 November.

Mr Le Maire said last week, before the most recent protests, that the restaurant trade had declined by between 20% and 50%.

Meanwhile, the authorities in Paris say that riots have caused millions of pounds' worth of damage.

What is the yellow vest movement?

The movement began as a protest against a rise in duties on diesel, which is widely used by French motorists and has long been less heavily taxed than other types of fuel.

Diesel prices have risen by about 23% over the past 12 months - and Mr Macron's decision to impose a tax increase of 6.5 cents on diesel and 2.9 cents on petrol from 1 January enraged protesters.

Mr Macron had blamed world oil prices for three-quarters of the price rise, but said higher taxes on fossil fuels were needed to fund renewable energy investments.

The rallies became known as the "yellow vest" or "gilet jaunes" movement because protesters took to the streets wearing the high-visibility yellow jackets that are required to be carried in every vehicle by French law.

The government has since agreed to scrap the fuel tax increase and has frozen electricity and gas prices for 2019.

But protests have also erupted over other issues, including calls for higher wages, lower taxes, better pensions and easier university entry requirements.

The movement's core aim, to highlight the economic frustration and political distrust of poorer working families, still has widespread support.

p06tzyz1.jpg
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionGilets Jaunes: Are nationalists infiltrating the "yellow vests"?

An opinion poll on Friday suggested a dip in support for the protests, but it still stood at 66%.

Meanwhile, President Macron's ratings have fallen to 23% amid the crisis, polls suggest.

Protest timeline

  • 17 November: 282,000 protesters - one dead, 409 wounded - 73 in custody
  • 24 November: 166,000 protesters - 84 wounded - 307 in custody
  • 1 December: 136,000 protesters - 263 wounded - 630 in custody
  • 8 December : 125,000 protesters - 118 wounded - 1,723 arrested

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Yellow vest protests: Macron to hold crisis meeting

  • 10 December 2018
Man walks past graffiti which reads: Image copyright EPA
Image caption Saturday's protesters left graffiti in parts of Paris - this reads: "Burn the Elysée", referring to the presidential palace

French President Emmanuel Macron is set to meet trade unions and employers' organisations, in a bid to defuse weeks of unrest in Paris and other cities.

Monday's meeting comes ahead of a TV address in which he is expected to announce measures in response.

France has seen four weekends of violent protests against fuel tax rises, living costs and other issues.

About 136,000 "yellow-vest" protesters took to the streets on Saturday. More than 1,200 were taken into custody.

The capital Paris was particularly badly hit, with windows smashed, cars burned and shops looted, as 10,000 people took part in demonstrations.

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire described the situation as a "catastrophe for businesses" and the economy.

Protesters have staged demonstrations and road bocks across the country over the past four weekends.

What is President Macron planning to do?

At 10:00 local time (09:00 GMT) on Monday, he will meet representatives of five major trade unions and three employers' organisations, as well as local officials.

Correspondents say that the yellow vests are an organic grassroots movement with no affiliations to any party, but some trade unions have taken up their cause and encouraged the government to listen to their grievances.

Le Figaro newspaper reports that Prime Minister Édouard Philippe and nine government ministers will also be present at Mr Macron's meeting.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Emmanuel Macron is facing the toughest challenge of his 19-month-old presidency

Mr Macron will then address the nation at 20:00 the same day.

Labour Minister Muriel Penicaud said he would announce "immediate and concrete measures" in response to the crisis.

Mr Macron has kept a low profile so far during the protests. Many of the protesters have called for his resignation.

He has been criticised for being out of touch and not listening to the struggles of ordinary people.

p06v196j.jpg
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionProtesters took to the streets of Paris for a fourth weekend of demonstrations

Last week, following talks with representatives of the yellow-vest movement, the government announced it was abandoning the fuel taxes that have angered the protesters.

But this failed to placate them and on Saturday they turned out in similar numbers to last week's demonstration.

What is the yellow-vest movement?

The protesters adopted the name after a social-media campaign urging people to take to the streets wearing the high-visibility yellow jackets that must be carried in every vehicle in France.

They were initially protesting against a rise in duties on diesel, which is widely used by French motorists and has long been less heavily taxed than other types of fuel.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption About 50 vehicles were set on fire during last Saturday's protests

Diesel prices have risen by about 23% over the past 12 months - and Mr Macron's decision to impose a tax increase of 6.5 cents on diesel and 2.9 cents on petrol from 1 January angered many, particularly in rural areas.

Mr Macron had said higher taxes on fossil fuels were needed to fund renewable energy investments.

But protests have also erupted over other issues, including calls for higher wages, lower taxes, better pensions and easier university entry requirements.

The movement's core aim, to highlight the economic frustration and political distrust of poorer working families, still has widespread support.

p06tzyz1.jpg
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionGilets Jaunes: Are nationalists infiltrating the "yellow vests"?

An opinion poll on Friday suggested a dip in support for the protests, but it still stood at 66%.

Meanwhile, President Macron's ratings have fallen to 23% amid the crisis, polls suggest.

Protest timeline

  • 17 November: 282,000 protesters - one dead, 409 wounded - 73 in custody
  • 24 November: 166,000 protesters - 84 wounded - 307 in custody
  • 1 December: 136,000 protesters - one dead, 263 wounded - 630 in custody
  • 8 December : 136,000 protesters - 118 wounded - 1,220 in custody

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About us

Police Community was originally founded in 2014 by two serving Police Officers.

In 2016 it was incorporated as a limited company called RAW Digital Media Limited and then purchased 3 other forums; Police Specials, UK Police Online and Police UK to form the largest policing discussion forum network in the UK.

Get in touch

  • 20-22 Wenlock Road, London N1 7GU
  • contact@rawdigitalmedia.co.uk
  • 0844 357 0111
  • Forums In Our Group - Police.Community - UKPoliceOnline.CO.UK - PoliceSpecials.COM - PoliceUK.COM

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    Meet The Team

  • Chief Bakes
    Chief Bakes Management
  • Chief Rat
    Chief Rat Management
  • Chief Cheetah
    Chief Cheetah Management
  • Rocket
    Rocket Global Moderators
  • David
    David Global Moderators
  • Fedster
    Fedster Global Moderators
  • Devil
    Devil Global Moderators
  • MindTheGap
    MindTheGap Global Moderators
  • blakey
    blakey Global Moderators
  • Techie1
    Techie1 Global Moderators
  • Sir Penguin
    Sir Penguin Global Moderators
  • PCW
    PCW Global Moderators
  • Hoofing
    Hoofing Global Moderators
  • XA84
    XA84 Global Moderators
  • Remmy
    Remmy Global Moderators
  • job_done
    job_done Global Moderators
  • Sapor62
    Sapor62 Global Moderators
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