Police Beef Up and Violence Dips in Week 19 of ‘Yellow Vest’ Protests – The New York Times

In Paris, the police stationed dozens of vans, water cannons and armored vehicles on the Champs-Élysées, and few protesters challenged them. Instead, most of the Yellow Vests marched on a preapproved route from southern Paris up to the Sacré-Coeur cathedral.

The Yellow Vest demonstrations, set off last November by an increase in fuel taxes, are named after the high-visibility safety vests that all French drivers must have in their cars.

Anger about the fuel tax increase — which was suspended — snowballed into an expression of much broader discontent against Mr. Macron, his pro-business economic policies, his sweeping reform agenda and what critics call his abrasive style of governing. Demands include higher taxation for the rich, more measures to support the purchasing power of the lower middle class, and the creation of a popular referendum mechanism.

But after months of ritual gatherings every Saturday in Paris and other cities around France, sometimes with clashes between riot police and Yellow Vests or more radical agitators, the number of protesters has dwindled to a small fraction of the more than 250,000 who demonstrated across the country in the movement’s early days.

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