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'Yellow vests': A majority of French people want 'gilets jaunes' protests to end: poll

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Protesters wearing yellow vests take part in a demonstration Feb 2019
Protesters wearing yellow vests take part in a demonstration Feb 2019 -
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Reuters
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More than half of France's population want the "gilets jaunes" (yellow vests) anti-government protests to stop, with two out of three people no longer believing the demonstrations reflect the group's initial demands, according to a poll released on Wednesday.

It is the first survey to suggest the majority of French people have turned against the movement.

Protesters have been taking to the streets every weekend since mid-November, with rallies marked by clashes between demonstrators and police that have led to injuries and famous monuments being destroyed.

The survey, carried out by pollster Elabe for BFMTV, said 56% of those questioned think the movement should stop mobilising people to take to the streets, an increase of 11 percentage points since December.

The majority of French people surveyed (58%) still support or sympathise with the "gilets jaunes" but that number has dropped 5 percentage points in the last month.

"This is indeed a major reversal", the head of Elabe, Bernard Sananès, told the French news channel BFMTV.

"support for the mobilisation was at 70% at one point, between December and January it was already more than 55, and now there is this switch", he added.

One of the main reasons for the shift in opinion could be because 64% said the protests no longer reflected the movement's initial demands.

Though the protests continue every weekend, the number of demonstrators taking part has dwindled since they began almost three months ago.

READ MORE: Who are the 'gilets jaunes' and what do they want? | Euronews answers

The movement was born out of frustrations over a fuel tax hike and spiralled into resentments against the cost of living and President Emmanuel Macron's policies.

In response to the demonstrations, Macron scrapped the planned rise in fuel tax and announced a series of measures for low-income workers and pensioners.

Macron has also been touring the country with a "grand national debate" to hear the French people's views on the economy and democracy.

Watch last Saturday's protest in the video player above.