Alwaght- Paris police fired water cannon and tear gas to push back thousands of 'Yellow Vests' who took to the streets for a 9th Saturday of demonstrations.
Thousands of protesters in Paris marched mostly peacefully through the Grands Boulevards shopping area in northern Paris, close to where a massive gas explosion in a bakery killed two firefighters and a Spanish tourist and injured nearly 50 people early on Saturday, Reuters reported.
But small groups of demonstrators broke away from the designated route and threw bottles and other projectiles at the police.
Around the 19th-century Arc de Triomphe at the top of the Champs Elysees boulevard, riot police fired water cannon and tear gas at protesters after being pelted with stones and paint, witnesses said.
Groups of protesters also gathered on and around the Champs Elysees, the scene of disturbances in recent weeks, many of them calling loudly for Macron to resign.
“Macron, we are going to tear down your place!” one banner read.
The Interior Ministry estimated that there were a maximum of about 84,000 demonstrators nationwide on Saturday - more than the 50,000 counted last week but well below the record 282,000 estimated on Nov. 17, the first day of the protests.
France has been hit by a wave of sometimes violent demonstrations since November when thousands took to the streets to oppose state fuel hikes. The movement has now morphed into a more general opposition to Macron’s policies. There is increasing skepticism that a government-led initiative to tackle the crisis will address France’s deep-rooted issues.