French riot police take position in front of protesters wearing yellow vests (gilets jaunes) demonstrating against rising costs of living they blame on high taxes on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, Dec. 15, 2018.
French riot police take position in front of protesters wearing yellow vests (gilets jaunes) demonstrating against rising costs of living they blame on high taxes on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, Dec. 15, 2018.

Police fired tear gas to disperse "yellow vest" demonstrators who converged on central Paris Saturday for the fifth straight weekend to protest the high cost of living and their belief President Emmanuel Macron is out of touch with working people.

Scuffles erupted between protesters and police, who fired tear gas on demonstrators as they scurried down side streets of Paris' famed Champs-Elysees boulevard.

A protester wearing a yellow vest holds a French flag as the authorities dismantle their shelter at a traffic island near the A2 Paris-Brussels motorway in Fontaine-Notre-Dame, France, Dec. 14, 2018.
Macron Urges Calm; Paris Police Brace for More Violence

Anticipating a fifth straight weekend of violent protests, France's president on Friday called for calm and the Paris police chief warned that armored vehicles and thousands of officers will be deployed again in the French capital.

Police chief Michel Delpuech told RTL radio that security services intend to deploy Saturday in the same numbers as last weekend, with about 8,000 officers and 14 armored vehicles protecting the streets of Paris during a planned anti-government protest by the yellow vest movement.

Delpuech said the biggest difference will be the deployment of more groups of patrol

Sixty people had been arrested in the capital by late Saturday morning, fewer than the 500 that had been detained at the same time last weekend, the local government said.

Some 8,000 police and 14 armored vehicles were deployed to prevent a repeat of previous protests that turned violent, with protesters looting stores and setting up burning barricades in the streets.

The protests, triggered by fuel tax hikes, have morphed into a movement about France's high living costs, and has ballooned into the biggest crisis of Macron's presidency.

The words "Give back the money" are written on the
The words "Give back the money" are written on the facade of a bank in Paris, Dec. 15, 2018, as protesters wearing yellow vests arrive to demonstrate against rising costs of living they blame on high taxes.

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.

Macron has since abandoned the fuel tax hikes and hopes a package of tax and minimum wage measures will help ease tensions in the country after a month of violent clashes.

Protesters, however, have made new demands to address other economic issues hurting workers, retirees and students.

France's President Emmanuel Macron, center, France's Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, left, and France's Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, right, attend a meeting with the representatives of the banking sector at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, Dec.11, 2
Macron's Concessions Set to Blow Out French Deficit

France will overshoot the European Union's budget deficit ceiling next year without deeper spending cuts after President Emmanuel Macron caved in to anti-government protests.

Macron announced wage increases for the poorest workers and a tax cut for most pensioners on Monday in an effort to quell a near month-long public revolt.

But the measures will leave a 10 billion euro ($11 billion) hole in the Treasury's finances, pushing France back over the EU deficit limit of 3 percent of national output and dealing a blow to Macron's reformist credentials.

"We are preparing a fiscal boost for workers

Government officials are concerned that repeated outbreaks of 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.