French President Holds Security Meeting On Yellow Vest Protests

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Paris police said 412 people were arrested on Saturday during the worst clashes for years in the capital and 363 remained in custody, according to the latest figures.

Police fired tear gas, stun grenades and water cannon in battles with "yellow vest" protesters around the Champs Elysees in Paris on Saturday, marking the third weekend of demonstrations across France against high living costs.

President Emmanuel Macron held an emergency meeting on security with Philippe on Sunday, and the government hasn't ruled out the possibility of imposing a state of emergency.

Among the peaceful demonstrators, who held up slogans such as "Macron, stop treating us like idiots", there were those hiding their faces with masks and goggles.

Pockets of demonstrators built makeshift barricades in the middle of Paris streets, lit fires, sprayed graffiti on the Arc de Triomphe and threw rocks at officers.

The authorities were caught off guard by the escalation in violence after two weeks of nationwide protests against fuel taxes and living costs, known as the "yellow vest" movement after fluorescent jackets kept in all vehicles in France. But by adversely affecting poorer people-who pay a higher proportion of their income on fuel and often live in parts of the country where public transport is worse-it fits into a narrative that has plagued Macron's presidency: reducing taxes for wealthy individuals and companies while raising them for everyone else. Around France, the protests have left three dead, more than 260 wounded and more than 400 arrested.

In addition to rising taxes, demonstrators are furious about President Emmanuel Macron's leadership.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said that Saturday's violent protests in the capital were having knock-on effects to the economy.

The "yellow vests" have no links to political parties or trade unions but the CGT, which brought hundreds of thousands of people onto the streets to protest Macron's reform of the labour code a year ago, said it shared their "legitimate anger".

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They were not necessarily hard-core political activists nor veterans of street violence: some of them however were ready to resort to violence to protest against government policies.

Many other "yellow vest" protesters who spoke to news agency AFP nevertheless condemned the violence, saying that it damaged their cause. The Arc de Triomphe, a unifying national monument that houses the tomb of the unknown soldier, was defaced, and a bust of national symbol Marianne was smashed.

Griveaux said that between 1,000 and 1,500 people joined Saturday's demonstrations "only to fight with the police, to break and loot".

Of those questioned, 72 percent of those questioned said they supported the anti-fuel tax protests, although 85 percent denounced the use of violence by Paris "casseurs", the poll by Harris Interactive for RTL radio and M6 television showed.

"It's hard to reach the end of the month".

Extremists on the left and right, anarchists and vandals have joined the demonstrations.

Macron will skip a major environmental conference - where he was expected to be received as a hero for his aggressive efforts to curb France's carbon emissions - to take part in what he hopes to be a series of "talks" between his Prime Minister, government officials, and protest leaders.

Since the protests kicked off November 17, two people were killed and hundreds injured in accidents stemming from the protests since they kicked off November 17, and hundreds of protesters and police have been injured.

Macron said on Saturday, "What happened today in Paris has nothing to do with the peaceful expression of legitimate anger".

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