'Yellow vests': Scattered demonstrations seen in France

Small demonstrations by "yellow-vest" protesters have been seen throughout France for a sixth consecutive Saturday, but not on the scale of the ones seen in recent weeks.

About 800 people were demonstrating in Paris at around noon (11:00 GMT), compared to about 4,000 demonstrators at the same time last Saturday.

Some 65 people have been arrested in the capital so far, reports say.

A man died in southern France, bringing the total death toll to 10.

His car hit a truck at a roadblock near Perpignan overnight on Friday, the authorities said on Saturday.

How is this Saturday shaping up?

In Paris, traffic was normal and most shops, except for some luxury boutiques, were open for business in the run-up to Christmas. There had been no incidences of violence or arrests, police said.

The palace of Versailles outside Paris and its gardens were closed as the authorities prepared for possible unrest there. Instead, protesters gathered in the Montmartre area of northern Paris for a small-scale demonstration.

There were other small-scale protests in the rest of the country, with hundreds of yellow vests briefly blocking trucks near the French-Spanish border before being dispersed by police.

Roadblocks were also reported in northern France near the border with Belgium.

Further demonstrations were planned around the country - though the movement seems to be losing impetus in the run-up to Christmas.

France's interior ministry said only 3,680 yellow vests had been counted on Thursday on the many traffic filtering points that have been appearing throughout the country since the beginning of the protests, their lowest number so far.

What is the yellow-vest movement?

The "gilets jaunes" (yellow vest) protesters - named after the high-visibility jackets French motorists must carry in their cars - began in mid-November against fuel tax increases and later widened to include the liberal economic reform policies of French President Emmanuel Macron.

They were initially protesting against a rise in duties on diesel, which is widely used by French motorists and has long been less heavily taxed than other types of fuel.

Mr Macron had said higher taxes on fossil fuels were needed to fund renewable energy investments.

But protests have also erupted over other issues, including calls for higher wages, lower taxes, better pensions and easier university entry requirements.

Mr Macron responded by scrapping an unpopular fuel tax rise, and promising an extra €100 (£90; $114) a month for minimum wage earners and tax cuts for pensioners.

On Friday evening, the French Senate approved the measures which should come into force early next year.

Protest timeline

17 November: 282,000 protesters - one dead, 409 injured - 73 in custody

24 November: 166,000 protesters - 84 injured - 307 in custody

1 December: 136,000 protesters - one dead, 263 injured - 630 in custody

8 December: 136,000 protesters - 118 injured - 1,220 in custody

15 December: 66,000 protesters - 7 injured (in Paris) - 115 in custody (in Paris)

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