Police clamp down on fifth weekend of French protests

David Keohane in Paris | Financial Times |

The violence in Paris on Saturday was less intense than last weekend as 8,000 police officers countered 4,000 protesters © AFP

French police turned out in force again on Saturday as the gilets jaunes mobilised in reduced numbers for their fifth weekend of protest against Emmanuel Macron and his economic policies, days after the president put billions of euros on the table to try to calm the movement.

In what will be a reprieve for the French president, officials said the number of protesters across France was 66,000, about half last week’s showing. In Paris, the interior ministry said 900 protesters were still in the capital at 6pm, down from closer to 4,000 at midday. Last weekend, some 126,000 marched throughout France, with 10,000 in Paris.

Some 8,000 police and gendarmes were deployed in the capital, the same number as last week, when running battles between gilets jaunes, or yellow vest, protesters saw shops looted and cars burnt.

The government said 69,000 members of the security forces were on duty across France. Last weekend 89,000 officers arrested nearly 2,000 people across the country.

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