Donald Trump throws his support behind Paris 'yellow vest' protests

Protesters wearing yellow vests walk on the Champs Elysees Avenue with the Arc de Triomphe in the background during a national day of protest by the

French troops have been deployed in Paris to support riot police shielding official buildings from "yellow vest" anti-government protests.

A ring of steel surrounded the president's Elysee Palace - a key destination for the protesters - as police stationed trucks and reinforced metal barriers throughout the neighbourhood. Protesters threw flares and other projectiles, and were repeatedly pushed back by tear gas.

Firefighters try to extinguished a vehicle set on fire by demonstrators during clashes with riot police, in Paris, France, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018.

This was his third weekend of protesting in Paris.

Despite the repeated skirmishes, Saturday's anti-government protests appeared less chaotic and violent than a week ago, when crowds defaced the Arc de Triomphe, set vehicles ablaze and looted high-end stores in the city's worst rioting since 1968.

Actual footage from France is far less euphoric - with hundreds of arrests across the country, where police say 31,000 people are out on the streets (organizers claim much higher numbers).

As it did last weekend, the U.S. Embassy advised Americans to avoid the demonstrations.

Anticipating a repeat of last weekend's violence, monuments including the Eiffel Tower and numerous French capital's metro stations remained closed with about 8,000 police on the streets of Paris with tens of thousands more deployed across the country.

Protesters in France were taking to the streets for a fourth Saturday in a row after demonstrations there broke out in violence last week. The window of a nearby bank was smashed in with a wrought-iron decoration used to encircle city tree trunks.

Six French league soccer matches were canceled around the country. Subway stations in the city centre closed and the US embassy warned citizens to avoid all protest areas.

By midday, more than 500 had been detained in Paris, according to a Paris police spokeswoman.

While Macron has since abandoned the fuel tax hike, protesters have made new demands to address other economic issues hurting workers, retirees and students.

French gendarmes apprehend a protester during clashes at a demonstration by the
France gears up to face new riots; Paris shuts down

Police are seizing protective equipment from journalists and barring some provincial "yellow vest" protesters from boarding trains to Paris, as part of exceptionally stringent security measures to prevent a repeat of last week's rioting.

Some of Mr Macron's critics call him "the president of the rich". "Me, I'm not here to break things because I have four children so I am going to try to be safe for them, because they are afraid", said protester Myriam Diaz. They said fellow protesters trying to reach Paris from Toulouse in southern France reported the same problems. He only gave his first name, saying he feared being tracked by security authorities. Those included the world-renowned Champs-Elysees Avenue, which would normally be packed with tourists and shoppers on a Saturday in early December.

Media captionGilets Jaunes: Are nationalists infiltrating the "yellow vests"? Macron, he said, "is not strong enough".

The president said that he is against the chaos caused by the protesters, as well as the disproportionate use of force by French police. More than 30 people were injured.

Macron on Wednesday agreed to abandon the fuel tax hike, which aimed to wean France off fossil fuels and uphold the Paris climate agreement.

Marches had been organised in more than 120 towns across France to mark the COP24 climate talks in Poland.

"We have prepared a robust response", Interior Minister Interior Minister Christophe Castaner told online news site Brut on Saturday.

Tear gas had dissipated and a standoff was over.

Video footage showed one demonstrator being hit in the torso with a rubber bullet while standing in front of a line of police with his hands up.

The French yellow vest protest movement is crossing borders, with demonstrations planned in neighboring Belgium and in the Netherlands.

Belgian police fired tear gas and water cannon Saturday at yellow-vested protesters calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Charles Michel.

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