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33,500 'yellow vest' protesters in France: ministry

AFP  |  Paris 

France's interior ministry said Saturday that the number of "yellow vest" protesters in France was estimated at 33,500 at midday, half the level of a week ago.

The ministry said 77,000 "yellow vests" -- named after the fluorescent jackets they wear -- had been counted at the same point last weekend.

Police in Paris said fewer than 3,000 had gathered in the capital for the fifth consecutive Saturday of demonstrations, which have so far been largely peaceful.

In the early afternoon, security forces fired teargas on the Champs-Elysees, the epicentre of the protests on previous weekends, as around 500 "yellow vests" gathered to denounce the government of President Emmanuel Macron.

There were also minor clashes at the Place de l'Opera in Paris where police detonated noise grenades to control crowds there.

Macron announced a series of concessions on Monday to defuse the explosive "yellow vest" crisis, which swelled up from rural and small-town France last month.

He was hoping the package of tax and minimum wage measures for low-income workers, as well as bitter winter weather, will bring calm to the country.

The government had also called on people to stay at home to give stretched security forces a break after another terror attack on Tuesday in Strasbourg where a gunman killed four people at a Christmas market.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, December 15 2018. 20:25 IST