Heavy police deployed in Paris over an array of protests

People trying to escape the tear gas that was released as police officers moved in to clear the crowds on the Champs Elysees avenue yesterday

Paris police said at least 163 people had been arrested as of Saturday afternoon, and almost 400 received 135-euro ($149) fines for demonstrating in a banned area.

Participants in the 45th protest of the "yellow vests" movement in France called for today found a strong police device in some areas of Paris, which carried out at least 90 arrests of protesters.

The government deployed a massive police presence as it feared yellow-vest supporters would take advantage of authorised protests over climate change and pension reform to cause disruption in the French capital.

The Prefecture indicated the closure of several metro stations and reiterated the prohibition of access, among others, to the Champs Elysees, the National Assembly, Matignon (headquarters of the Prime Minister), the Notre-Dame Cathedral, Trocadero and the Eiffel Tower.

Saturday coincides with the annual European Heritage Days weekend, when public and private buildings normally off-limits to the public are open to visitors.

Local authorities had issued a decree Wednesday forbidding the yellow vest protests on the Champs-Elysees over the weekend.

Meanwhile, the far-left Workers Force union gathered thousands of protesters for a separate, peaceful march over concerns that government proposals will require people to work longer and reduce pensions.

Police in full anti-riot gear moved quickly and used tear gas on and around the Champs-Elysees avenue, a frequent location for protests after the first yellow vest demonstrations against fuel taxes started 10 months ago.

The weekly demonstrations around France - Saturday was the 45th - prompted Macron to loosen the state's purse strings to the tune of almost 17 billion euros ($18.8 billion) in wage boosts and tax cuts for low earners.

Macron had on Friday called for "calm", saying that while "it's good that people express themselves", they should not disrupt the climate protest and cultural events also scheduled on Saturday.

Mr Macron made multiple concessions to the movement, including a €10 billion package of measures to boost purchasing power.

Paris police chief Didier Lallement has said 7,500 police would be deployed for Saturday's rallies in Paris - numbers on a par with the peak of the yellow vest protests in December and March.

Most demonstrators did not wear the fluorescent vests that gave the movement its name.

The police have been criticised for being heavy-handed in the clashes, not just with hardcore anti-capitalist "black bloc" groups blamed for much of the violence that has accompanied the demonstrations, but also with ordinary protesters.



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