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Over 1,700 arrested in latest 'yellow vest' protests in France

Clashes broke out in several cities during a fourth weekend of nationwide protests against rising living costs.

FILE: Riot police clash with men wearing "yellow vests" (gilets jaunes) protestors on 8 December 2018 near the Arc de Triomphe in Paris during a protest against rising costs of living they blame on high taxes. Picture: AFP

More than 1,700 people were arrested across France during the latest round of "yellow vest" protests, in which demonstrators clashed with riot police, the interior ministry said Sunday.

Clashes broke out in several cities, including Marseille, Bordeaux, Lyon and Toulouse, during a fourth weekend of nationwide protests against rising living costs and President Emmanuel Macron in general.

A total 1,220 of the 1,723 detained were ordered held in custody, the ministry said.

Police in Paris said they made 1,082 arrests on Saturday, up sharply from 412 in the previous round.

The interior ministry said some 136,000 people took part in Saturday's protests, around the same number as on 1 December.

But it was Paris which again bore the brunt of the violence and destruction.

Protesters in the capital set fire to cars, burned barricades and smashed windows in pockets of violence, clad in their emblematic luminous safety jackets, as armoured vehicles rolled through the streets.

City authorities said the 'yellow vests' had caused "much more damage" than on 1 December.

"The sector concerned by the incidents was much larger... With fewer barricades, there was much more dispersion, so many more places were impacted by violence," Paris deputy mayor Emmanuel Gregoire told France Inter radio.

The embattled president - whose name rang out across the Champs-Elysees as protesters shouted "Macron, resign" - is expected to address the demonstrations in a much-anticipated speech in the coming days.

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