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Gilets Jaunes stage ninth round of protests in France

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AFP

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Although there were clashes around the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, there was not the same kind of violence seen in recent protests

Thousands of demonstrators turned out across France for new “yellow vests” protests, with dozens of arrests and clashes in Paris and other cities.

Police in the capital used water cannon and tear gas as scuffles broke out at the Arc de Triomphe, on the ninth consecutive weekend of protests.

Some 84,000 demonstrators were recorded nationwide, an increase compared with last week, official figures show.

The nationwide protests were initially triggered by the rising price of fuel.

They have since widened to include anger at the cost of living, with a wide-ranging list of other demands.

  • Who are the ‘gilets jaunes’?
  • Macron concessions divide protest leaders

Thousands of officers were deployed across Paris, which has previously seen street clashes and vandalism, to tackle the protesters, and parts of the city centre were blocked off by riot police.

Some 8,000 demonstrators were on the streets – more than in the past two weekends, when authorities counted just 3,500 people on 5 January and 800 on 29 December, according to interior ministry figures.

Some 156 protesters were arrested, and as of 21:00 local time (20:00 GMT), 108 remained in custody, police said.

By nightfall, there had not been the looting or burning of cars as seen in previous weeks.

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AFP

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Skirmishes also broke out in cities around the country, including Bordeaux

There were also thousands of protesters in the cities of Bordeaux and Toulouse in southern France as well as Strasbourg in the east and the central city of Bourges, the site of another major rally, where more than 6,000 people took to the streets.

Nationwide, 244 people were arrested, of which 201 remained in custody, police said.

Some 80,000 police officers were deployed nationwide to face the protesters.

French President Emmanuel Macron has said a national debate is due to kick off on 15 January in response to weeks of protests by the “gilets jaunes” – so-called because of the high-visibility jackets they wear.

It will be held publicly in town halls across France and on the internet, and will focus on four themes: taxes, green energy, institutional reform and citizenship.

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