Protests 'a crisis' for France as 1700 arrests made

Eiffel Tower and Louvre to be closed as Paris braces for more protests

Anti-government protesters faced off with riot police in Paris and other French cities on Saturday, hurling stones, torching cars and vandalizing shops and restaurants in a fourth weekend of unrest that has shaken President Emmanuel Macron's authority.

Nearly 1,000 people, almost 100 of them minors and most without police records, were being held in custody after the Saturday protests in the French capital, Paris chief prosecutor Remy Heitz said.

National police estimated the number of protesters in Paris at 8,000, although the yellow vests said their numbers were far higher.

French authorities deployed 89,000 police and gendarmes (65,000 the week before), with 8,000 of them in the capital and this time with orders to act quickly against any fighting in order to prevent destruction, and also to raise barricades.

Near the Arc de Triomphe, police fired tear gas grenades and water cannons to push back demonstrators.

A police spokeswoman told reporters there were about 1,500 protesters on the Champs Elysees boulevard.

With a view to prevention, and following the December 1 vandalism, most businesses in the threatened areas remained closed, starting with the big department stores. "Never before in Paris had been detained by the security forces so many people", - said Minister of France.

The disparate movement now has other demands, from taxing the rich to raising the minimum wage and Macron's resignation.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian says U.S. President Donald Trump should not comment on France's domestic affairs, notably nationwide protests that began over fuel tax hikes meant to wean the nation off fossil fuels.

The US embassy issued a warning to Americans in Paris to "keep a low profile and avoid crowds", while Belgium, Portugal and the Czech Republic advised citizens to postpone any planned visits.

Some 125,000 yellow vests took to the streets Saturday around France with a bevy of demands related to high living costs and a sense that Macron favors the elite and is trying to modernize the French economy too fast.

A shocking video, taken from above the Paris protests, shows the scope of the demonstrations - and the devastation left in their wake.

Paris is once again a city under siege, as thousands of riot police continue to clash with protesters in the nation's worst urban riots in decades.

People light flares as they take part in the demonstration of the yellow vests near Champs-Elysees avenue.

Macron has already offered protesters a string of concessions, including scrapping further rises in fuel taxes - a major climbdown for a president who had vowed not to be swayed, like his predecessors, by mass protests.

AFP/Thomas SAINT-CRICQ Security measures are in place in Paris for the "yellow vests" protests.

Anti-riot police used a water cannon during clashes with "yellow vest" (Gilet Jaune) protesters during a demonstration late last month near major European Union buildings in Brussels.

However, up to 25,000 people also marched through Paris urging greater action on climate change, despite fears that their protest would be scuppered by "yellow vest" demonstrations.

Named after the fluorescent safety vests that French motorists must carry, the "yellow vest" protests erupted on November 17 after a months-long build up on social media.

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