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Paris Cleans Up After Latest Riot; Nearly 1,800 Arrested

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Protesters wearing yellow vests stand next to a burning tree as they demonstrate against the rising costs of living that they blame on high taxes near the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris, Dec. 8, 2018.

Nearly 1,800 people were arrested Saturday across France in the latest round of “yellow vest” protests.

Nationwide, the Interior Ministry says some 136,000 people rallied against France’s high-cost of living. Protesters also expressed their dismay with the presidency of Emmanuel Macron.

Protests were mounted in a number of cities besides Paris, including Marseilles, Bordeaux, Lyon and Toulouse.

The ministry said Sunday 1,723 people were arrested nationwide, with 1,220 of them ordered held in custody.

Parisian police said they made 1,082 arrests Saturday, a sharp increase from last week’s 412 arrests.

A picture taken in Paris, Dec. 9, 2018, shows a broken bus stop and (background) the Eiffel tower a day after a "yellow vest" protests as part of a fourth weekend of nationwide protests.
A picture taken in Paris, Dec. 9, 2018, shows a broken bus stop and (background) the Eiffel tower a day after a "yellow vest" protests as part of a fourth weekend of nationwide protests.

Meanwhile, tourist destinations, including the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre Museum, reopened and workers cleaned up broken glass Sunday.

The man who unleashed the anger, President Emmanuel Macron, broke his silence to tweet his appreciation for the police overnight, but pressure mounted on him to propose new solutions to calm the anger dividing France.

On Saturday, French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said 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.

Castaner estimated 10,000 demonstrators had taken to Parisian streets.

He said 135 people had been injured, including 17 police officers.

France closed the Eiffel Tower and other tourist landmarks and mobilized tens of thousands of security forces for the fourth week of violent demonstrations.

Protesters wearing yellow vests remove wooden boards protecting a shop windows during a demonstration against the rising costs of living that they blame on high taxes in Paris, Dec. 8, 2018.
Protesters wearing yellow vests remove wooden boards protecting a shop windows during a demonstration against the rising costs of living that they blame on high taxes in Paris, Dec. 8, 2018.

Many shops in Paris were boarded up before Saturday’s 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 deployed nationwide, an increase from 65,000 last weekend.

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.

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

Workers clean around the Arc de Triomphe a day after a yellow vests (gilets jaunes) demonstration against rising oil prices and living costs, Dec. 2, 2018 in Paris. Graffiti on the monument reads "yellow vests will triumph."
Workers clean around the Arc de Triomphe a day after a yellow vests (gilets jaunes) demonstration against rising oil prices and living costs, Dec. 2, 2018 in Paris. Graffiti on the monument reads "yellow vests will triumph."

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 over rising living costs.

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

WATCH: Clashes and Hundreds Detained in France in 'Yellow Vest' Protests

Clashes, Hundreds Detained in France in Latest 'Yellow Vest' Protests
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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.

Government officials are concerned the repeated weekly violence could 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 attached themselves to the “yellow vest” movement.

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