Violence mars yellow vest protest in Paris as unrest spreads to Rome

Police confirmed that a protester had a hand injury, but provided no further details other than to say treatment was being provided.

A "yellow vest" protester in France had his fingers ripped off during clashes at the parliament building in Paris, as the protests went into their 13th week.

French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner went to Twitter to express his "disgust" as protesters set alight an anti-terror military vehicle.

"Yellow vests", who take their their name from the high-visibility jackets they wear, hurled stones and wooden planks at police, who responded with tear gas and baton charges.

A auto, motorbikes and multiple trash bins were set ablaze as the protest moved toward the city's Invalides monument but France's Interior Ministry said this week's protest was significantly smaller than last week's.

"We mustn't give up", said pensioner Serge Mairesse, from Aubervilliers, just outside Paris.

Several unions called for the protest on Saturday in order to draw attention to inequality, unemployment and racism under the government, which came to power previous year.

Thousands of protesters also turned out in the French cities of Marseille and Montpellier as well as Bordeaux and Toulouse and in several cities in France's north and west.

In the eastern city of Saint Etienne, eight police officers were slightly hurt during clashes with some protesters on the fringes of the march there, local police said.

But last week's official estimates were disputed both by march organisers and an independent estimate carried out for news media.

The protests have brought hundreds of thousands of people out onto the streets all over France.

But a YouGov poll of 1,037 people issued on Thursday suggested that almost two out of three people in France (64 per cent) still support the movement.

Politicians from across the political spectrum condemned the arson attack on the home of Richard Ferrand, a close ally of Macron and president of parliament's lower house.

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