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Hundreds of women rally in Paris during 'yellow vest' protests

Hundreds of women rally in Paris during 'yellow vest' protests”

Protesters were looking to breathe new life into the yellow vest movement as numbers of participants has fallen since the first Saturday protest in mid-November.

A riverboat restaurant moored below the clashes on the Left Bank of the Seine River caught fire.

In Rennes, protester Chloé Tessier said, "The government speaks of us as troublemakers, but today we are marching as the mothers, grandmothers, as daughters and sisters of all citizens, and we want to say that (.) our anger is legitimate".

The women, wearing yellow vests, turned out after 50,000 people returned to the streets of France on Saturday amid violent clashes with police. Driving the movement is the feeling among French workers and lower-middle class that they can not make ends meet, and anger at Macron's reforms seen as favouring the rich.

Government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux meanwhile said he had to be evacuated from his office after the door of his ministry building was forced by persons who stole heavy machinery from the street outside.

The latest opinion poll, published on Thursday by Odoxa Dentsu, indicated 55 percent support the protests - a figure which, although lower than the 75 % back in November, is still important enough to suggest the anti-austerity movement retains political clout.

Further confrontations between police and protesters took place in other cities around France, with tear gas fired in Bordeaux and in Rouen, Normandy.

Protesters made their way to the Champs-Elysees, the famed boulevard that has been at the center of previous yellow vest demonstrations, many removing their distinctive vests and mixing with shoppers. Television images showed hooded youths setting a vehicle alight on a side street, but there was no repeat of the unrest that erupted in late November, when shops were looted, banks vandalized and the Arc de Triomphe defaced. "Thanks to friendly neighbors we were able to put out the fires", Ambassador Veronika Wand-Danielsson tweeted on Saturday.

"And where are the police?".

The movement is losing wind with repeated violence at weekly demonstrations.

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 liberalize the heavily-regulated economy. They began surging again after Macron promised in a New Year's Eve address that his administration will take a hard line against future protests. These include a nationwide debate on ecological, fiscal and institutional questions, the results of which he says will feed into policy.



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