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French Arrest Hundreds in Paris 'Yellow Vest' Protests

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Protesters wearing yellow vests walk on the Champs-Elysees Avenue with the Arc de Triomphe in the background during a national day of protest by the "yellow vests" movement in Paris, Dec. 8, 2018.

French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said Saturday that violent outbreaks in Paris were "under control" despite ongoing disorderly acts he declared "totally unacceptable."

French police supported by armored vehicles fired tear gas at yellow-vested protesters on the Champs-Elysees. The demonstrators were protesting France's high cost of living.

Castaner estimated 10,000 demonstrators had taken to Parisian streets and were among 125,000 protesters throughout the country.

WATCH: Clashes, Hundreds Detained in France in Latest 'Yellow Vest' Protests

Clashes, Hundreds Detained in France in Latest 'Yellow Vest' Protests
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He said nearly 1,000 had been arrested in Paris and that 135 people had been injured, including 17 police officers.

Bracing for a fourth week of violent protests, France closed the Eiffel Tower and other tourist landmarks and mobilized tens of thousands of security officers.

Many shops in Paris were boarded up before Saturday's planned protests to avoid being smashed or looted, and police cordoned off many of the city's broad boulevards.

Despite what Castaner said were "exceptional" security measures, protesters still smashed store windows and clashed with police.

More than 89,000 police were being deployed nationwide, an increase from 65,000 last weekend, when protests over rising taxes turned into a riot that left more than 130 people injured.

A demonstrator holds a portrait of France's President Emmanuel Macron during a protest on Paris' famed Champs-Elysees Avenue, France, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018.
A demonstrator holds a portrait of France's President Emmanuel Macron during a protest on Paris' famed Champs-Elysees Avenue, France, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018.

Police in central Paris removed any materials from the streets that could be used as weapons or projectiles during the demonstrations, including street furniture at outdoor cafes.

President Emmanuel Macron made an unannounced visit Friday night to a group of anti-riot security officers outside Paris to thank them for their work.

The protests erupted in November over a fuel tax increase, which was part of Macron's plan to combat global warming.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe called for new talks Saturday with representatives of the "yellow vest" movement. He vowed the government would address their concerns about rising living costs.

"The president will speak, and will propose measures that will feed this dialogue," Philippe said in a televised statement. ​

Yellow vests hang on the rooftop and at windows of an apartment building, Dec. 7, 2018, in Marseille, southern France.
Yellow vests hang on the rooftop and at windows of an apartment building, Dec. 7, 2018, in Marseille, southern France.

U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted Saturday that the Paris Agreement, a global effort to reduce global warming beginning in 2020, "isn't working out so well for Paris" and that "People do not want to pay large sums of money ... in order to protect the environment."

Since the unrest began in November, four people have been killed in protest-related accidents.

While Macron has since abandoned the fuel tax hike, protesters have made new demands to address other economic issues hurting workers, retirees and students.

Demonstrators run away during clashes Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 in Paris. Crowds of yellow-vested protesters angry at President Emmanuel Macron and France's high taxes tried to converge on the presidential palace Saturday, some scuffling with police firing tear gas, amid exceptional security measures aimed at preventing a repeat of last week's rioting.
Demonstrators run away during clashes Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 in Paris. Crowds of yellow-vested protesters angry at President Emmanuel Macron and France's high taxes tried to converge on the presidential palace Saturday, some scuffling with police firing tear gas, amid exceptional security measures aimed at preventing a repeat of last week's rioting.

Government officials are concerned that a repeat of last week's violence would weaken the economy and raise doubts about the government's survival.

Officials are also concerned about far-right, anarchist and anti-capitalist groups like Black Bloc that have mimicked the "yellow vest" movement.

The "yellow vest" movement was named after the safety jackets French motorists are required to keep in their vehicles, which the protesters wear at demonstrations.

The weeks of protests have exposed intense resentment among non-city residents who feel that Macron, a former investment banker, is out of touch with struggling middle-class and blue-collar workers. ​

Wayne Lee and Fern Robinson contributed to this report.

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