Paris protesters try to revive yellow vest movement

Paris protesters try to revive yellow vest movement

A river boat restaurant moored below the clashes on the Left Bank of the Seine River caught fire, while smoke and tear gas wafted above the Orsay Museum and the gold dome of the French Academy as riot police moved in when protesters deviated from an officially approved path.

Officers fired tear gas to prevent hundreds of demonstrators crossing the river and reaching the National Assembly on Saturday.

Benjamin Griveaux - a government spokesman evacuated from his ministry in central Paris on Saturday when a handful of protesters in high-visibility vests smashed down the large wooden door to the ministry compound - denounced the break-in as an "unacceptable attack on the Republic".

Protesters made their way to the Champs-Elysees Avenue, the famed boulevard that has been at the center of previous yellow vest demonstrations, many removing their distinctive vests and mixing with shoppers.

The protests are against President Emmanuel Macron's economic reforms which are seen as favouring the rich while squeezing the household income of ordinary people. "We're fed up with having to pay out the whole time, we've had enough of this slavery, we should be able to live on our salaries".

That's a steep decline from the first demos, which saw tens of thousands of protesters throughout the country toward the end of past year.

The French government Friday took a hard stance against the protests, accusing demonstrators of being "agitators" who want to overthrow the government.

Yellow vest protests have spread out from France into other countries like Holland and now the UK.

Then, rioters ran amok in the city, torching dozens of cars, looting shops in posh neighbourhoods and defacing the Arc de Triomphe. One protester was injured and at least two others were arrested, police said.

Last month, Macron promised tax cuts for pensioners, wage rises for the poorest workers and the scrapping of planned fuel tax increases, at a cost to the Treasury of 10 billion euros.

The measures marked the first big U-turn for a president elected 18 months earlier on a platform to break with traditional French politics and liberalise the heavily-regulated economy.

"We have to give power back to the people and not a minority that serves its own interests", said a second yellow vest protester outside the old stock market building.

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