'Yellow Vests' stage more protests in French cities amid sig

Three months after the "Yellow Vests" movement began, discontent people were staging further rallies and protests on Saturday across French cities for the 14th straight weekend of action against French President Emmanuel Macron's economic reforms.

PROTESTS CONTINUE AT WEEKEND

Several hundreds of protesters gathered at La Palace de L'Etoile, waving tricolour flags, many of them calling loudly for Macron to resign. They blocked traffic around the emblematic site of L'Arc de Triomphe, responding to a call of "insurrection" and "to block La Place de L'Etoile as long as possible."

Under the watch of anti-riot police, they marched along the Champs Elysees, where repeated skirmishes between anti-riot police and demonstrators forced France's major tourist magnet to lock down at the previous weekends.

Another faction called on Facebook for another peaceful gathering in Paris on Saturday afternoon, instructing followers "to remain united and peaceful,to be in solidarity, to avoid violent groups, to disperse at the end of the demonstration" which was scheduled for 5:00 p.m. local time (1600 GMT). 5,200 people said were interested.

Similar marches were also reported in French cities in peaceful atmosphere. Further action is also planned on Sunday to mark three months of the movement.

In brief standoffs, anti-riot police fired tear gas to prevent some groups from cruising to adjacent streets and respect the declared route. The situation remained relatively calm compared to last weeks.

Named for the high-visibility jackets all motorists carry in their cars, the social action which started on Nov. 17, 2018 as a social-media protest group initially aimed at denouncing Macron's taxes on fuel that said would further undermine purchasing power.

However, over the weeks, it has evolved into a wider rebellion, with some asked the president to step down and called for a "citizens' initiative referendum" to allow citizens to have stronger say to define the economic and social roadmap for the country.

"I do not see why we have to stop (protesting). They do not listen to us," Chantal, one of the movement's representative in Marseille, south France, was quoted as saying by BFMTV news channel.

"We are discussing (with the government), but since November, we know what we want: a concrete, that is to say, a rise in purchasing power and more public services," she said.

In a bid to quell the anger, France's top official had offered a series of concessions that began in December with a drop of a planned high fuel tax which inspired the nationwide uprising.

The 41-year-old president also offered more concessions to dampen social roar via "an economic and social emergency plan," proposing an increase in minimum wages and tax breaks.

SIGNS OF FATIGUE

Macron came to power in May 2017 on pledges of a new and fair recipe for the country.

But he has witnessed tough months marked by the "Yellow Vest" movement.It had drew 287,710 people on Nov. 17 2018. Three months on, it seems losing momentum as the turnout have been slashed.

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