Clashes mark France's yellow vests regular Saturday protest

French police fired tear gas and arrested dozens on Saturday in clashes with yellow vest movement protesters as they threw cobblestones at riot police in front of Paris’ Arc de Triumph monument, news wires reported. Bonfires were started in nearby streets, with at least one car put in flames. The yellow vests seek to inject new impetus into the four-month old revolt against President Emmanuel Macron and his pro-business reforms.

Police also used water cannons and arrested more than 30 protesters by late morning as tensions flared at Champs Elysee avenue, where the windows of a high-end restaurant were smashed. Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said thugs looking for trouble had infiltrated the demonstrations. “Let there be no doubt: they are looking for violence and are there to sow chaos in Paris,” Castaner said in a Tweet.

Protesters have promised to draw bigger numbers to mark the fourth month since the movement erupted in mid-November. However, the weekly demonstrations, held every Saturday in Paris and other cities, have been generally getting smaller since December, when Paris saw some of the worst vandalism and looting in decades. In January, Macron ordered police to crack down on the protests, leading to complaints of police brutality.

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