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'Gilets jaunes' act V sees drop in turnout

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By Mark Armstrong
'Gilets jaunes' act V sees drop in turnout

France's "gilets jaunes" (yellow vests) are on the streets again in Paris and elsewhere for what they call the "fifth act" of their demonstrations against the government.

One of the gathering places on Saturday was the Champs Elysee in the city centre.

There was a strong security force presence on the boulevard in the hope of deterring the violent clashes seen during previous protests when barricades were mounted and cars set on fire.

Gilet Jaunes (yellow vest) protestors hit the streets of Paris for what they describe as Act V of their movement against...

Publiée par Euronews English sur Samedi 15 décembre 2018

As well as the yellow vests a number of so-called Marianne protesters joined the demonstration. Red-hooded and bare-breasted, Marianne is a symbol of the revolutionary French Republic.

As in Paris, police in Toulouse, Bordeaux used water cannon and tear gas to disperse protesters.

There had been government calls for the protests to be called off in the wake of a terrorist shooting at a Christmas market in Strasbourg, which gained backing from some groups who had previously organised rallies.

Others, however, insisted the actions of a terrorist shouldn't stop them carrying on what they see as their democratic duty.

The Gilets Jaunes movement began five weeks ago, initially against a rise in fuel taxes, but has since spread to take in other issues, including education reforms.

Macron has made several attempts to diffuse the crisis after initially insisting he would not be swayed over policy. First he scrapped a rise in fuel duty that had been the initial spark for the movement. Then, when that failed to assuage the anger on the streets he made other concessions including an increase in the minimum wage and measures to increase pensions for some retirees.