More than 100 arrested at 'yellow vest' protests
Paris: Over a hundred demonstrators were arrested at yellow vest protests in Paris on Saturday as about 7,500 police were deployed to quell any violence by the movement and its radical, anarchist "black blocs".
There were also fears that the demonstrators could try to infiltrate a march against climate change in the French capital.
The yellow vest movement erupted 10 months ago and blindsided President Emmanuel Macron, whom protesters accused of being out of touch with the needs of ordinary French people.
"What are we doing? We are assembling just to say that we can't make ends meet. (The protest) is not only against the president, it's against the system," said a woman protestor who did not give her name.
The weekly demonstrations -- Saturday was the 45th -- prompted Macron to loosen the state's purse strings to the tune of nearly 17 billion euros (18.8 billion) in wage boosts and tax cuts for low earners, but tapered off over the summer.
However, it remains to be seen whether the movement will regain the momentum of the winter and early spring, when the protests often descended into violent clashes with security forces, especially in Paris.
By 1.00 pm (11 GMT) police had arrested 106 demonstrators, police headquarters said, adding that some had been found to carry hammers or petrol canisters.
"We are being treated like criminals," said a woman, who identified herself as Brigitte.
The authorities had banned demonstrations in some areas of the city, including tourism hotspot Champs-Elysees, but some protesters violated the ban, leading to a tense standoff with police who used teargas and batons to scatter them.
Macron on Friday called for "calm", saying that while "it's good that people express themselves", they should not disrupt a climate protest and cultural events also due to go ahead on Saturday. The number of police deployed for Saturday's rallies are on a par with the peak of the yellow vest protests in December and March.
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