German Yellow Vest protestors join French Yellow Vests on the 21st weekend of anti-government protests.
Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Paris and other French cities on Saturday for a 21st straight weekend of anti-government “yellow vest” protests, but turnout was sharply lower than last week and the marches were largely peaceful.
The quieter nature of the demonstrations should be a relief to President Emmanuel Macron, who this week wrapped up two months of nationwide town hall meetings as part of his “grand debate” initiative.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe is due on Monday to outline the initial findings that emerged from hours of discussions with local mayors and officials, high-school students, workers, intellectuals as well as 1.9 million online contributions.
Macron, who launched the debate in a bid to calm the protests and determine which policies people want the government to focus on, is due to announce proposals based on the results later this month.
By early evening on Saturday, there were 43 arrests in Paris and also a few clashes with police in Rouen on the margins of otherwise peaceful demonstrations.
Protesters carrying French flags and holding signs calling for referendums tabled by citizens also marched largely without violence in Bordeaux and Lille.
The protests, named after the high-visibility safety jackets worn by demonstrators, began in November as an expression of public anger against fuel tax increases.