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Paris protesters try to revive yellow vest movement

08 January 2019

About 3,500 marchers clashed with police in Paris as they renewed calls for French President Emmanuel Macron to resign.

Eighty per cent of respondents backed a right for citizens to propose referendums on issues of public interest, a demand repeatedly raised by protesters.

Some then made their way south of the river to the wealthy area around Boulevard St Germain, where they set light to a auto and several motorbikes and set up burning barricades, prompting police to fire tear gas to try and disperse them.

But Le Maire said the government won't go back on its landmark tax decisions, in particular the abolition of a wealth tax that many Yellow Vests protesters say should be reinstated.

Riot police and firefighters moved in as barricades mounted in the middle of the streets were also set alight.

Some protesters set bins ablaze and material damage included several burned out motorcycles strewn across streets.

In a first, the building housing the office of the French government spokesman was attacked. One group commandeered a forklift and broke down the entrance to the ministry for relations with parliament.

Attacking and injuring a police officer in France can lead to up to three years in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros (51,000 dollars), though sentences can be increased in certain circumstances.

There were no reports of violence on the eighth consecutive Saturday of yellow vest protests, in contrast to some December demonstrations that degenerated into chaotic violence.

About 50,000 protesters took to the streets across France, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said.

Protesters clashed with police in central Paris. Marches were underway in several other cities across France.

Video on French TV showed a man repeatedly stomping on an officer in riot gear on the ground and hitting the shield of another officer.

Two months after they started blocking roads, occupying highway tollbooths and staging sometimes-violent street protests in Paris, the yellow vests wanted to inject new momentum into a movement that weakened over the holidays. The protests were launched in anger over the fuel tax hikes, but have swelled with broader anger over Macron's economic policies, deemed to favor the rich.

Last Saturday saw scuffles in Paris between some demonstrators denouncing media "collaborators" and police outside the headquarters of broadcasters BFMTV and France Televisions.

Some women tried to rebrand the movement as peaceful through signs reading "I am your daughter" or "I am your Grandma". "Power to the people, " read another.

"The gilets jaunes movement for those who are still mobilized have become agitators who want insurrection and, basically, to overthrow the government", Griveaux later told reporters.

Paris protesters try to revive yellow vest movement