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  • A worker wearing a T-shirt which reads "France is Angry" in Nice, France, Jan. 11, 2019.

    A worker wearing a T-shirt which reads "France is Angry" in Nice, France, Jan. 11, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 12 January 2019

Thousands of French citizens launch protests against President Emmanuel Macron policies for the ninth weekend in a row.

Yellow Vests protesters congregated at different points in France, for the ninth Saturday of demonstrations, against the austerity policies of President Emmanuel Macron.

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After last week's riots, Interior Minister Laurent Nunez elected to deploy a large group of police personnel, with some 80,000 agents mobilized across the country; 5,000 of them in Paris.

In the early hours of Saturday, the Avenue des Champs Elysees, in Paris, had already been separated by a fence which ran from one side of the roadway to the next. The authorities have been forced to divert traffic to streets around the Republic Square and the North Station.

Several demonstrators were acosted by the riot police in front of the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

The Yellow Vests also arranged a meeting in Bourges, a small town in the center of France, to facilitate the participation of protesters coming from lesser populated provinces.

Minister Nunez, through his Twitter account, warned that there would be "zero tolerance" for rioters. "If there are excesses, either in Paris or anywhere in France, we will give them an extremely firm response," the minister said.

In addition, President Macron made controversial statements Friday night, lamenting that "too many French people" lack "sense of effort", which prevents the country from regaining strength and cohesion.

After the Yellow Vest's last protest on Jan. 6, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced that the government would legislate sanctions against demonstrators as well as create a registry for agitators; a measure, he affirms, will allow authorities to restrict such persons from attending future protests.

The police, after the announced push-back measures, have remained cognizant that there could be retaliation during the protests, especially since more than 50,000 Yellow Vests are expected at the demonstrations.

The Yellow Vests movement is a citizen's protest that started in France in Oct. 2018. The model have since spread to other countries such as Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Greece, Italy, Israel, Portugal and Spain.

Initially, the movement were focused on rejecting fuel tax increases, however, their demands evolved to include addressing the purchasing power of the middle and lower classes, as well as the resignation of President Macron.

Since inception, the Yellow Vests involve organized street blockades, the comandeering of public sites in addition to planning other events across the country.

The Saturday demonstrations began on Nov. 17, 2018.


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