Clashes break out in France as 'yellow vests' stage latest protest
* Tenth consecutive weekend of protests
* Paris relatively calm, some scuffles near Invalides
* Bank and shops vandalised in Toulouse
* Government building attacked in Angers
(Adds comments from Marine Le Pen)
By Noemie Olive and Sudip Kar-Gupta
PARIS, Jan 19 (Reuters) - Clashes broke out throughout
France on Saturday, as an estimated 84,000 "yellow vests"
demonstrators took to the streets in a 10th consecutive weekend
of protests against President Emmanuel Macron's government.
The demonstrations passed off relatively peacefully in Paris
where 7,000 turned up, although Reuters Television reporters saw
scuffles briefly break out between police and demonstrators,
some wearing masks, in the capital's Invalides district.
Protesters threw firecrackers, bottles and stones at police
who responded with water canon and tear gas to push them back.
"Macron, resign!" some of the protesters shouted.
The "yellow vests" protests - named after the fluorescent
jackets French motorists are required to carry in their cars -
began in November over plans to raise fuel taxes. The number of
demonstrators on Saturday was roughly the same as last week.
The fuel tax hikes were subsequently scrapped, yet the
movement has morphed into a broader protest against Macron's
government and general anger over taxes and the cost of living.
"How can we continue to live with so little?" said Bernard
Grignan, a 65-year old retired manager who took part in the
TROUBLE IN TOULOUSE
In Paris, some demonstrators carried mock coffins
symbolising the 10 people who have died during the protests,
mainly due to accidents when demonstrators blocked roads.
December's demonstrations saw some of the worst violence in
decades in Paris, as rioters burned cars and vandalised shops.
Protests in Paris this month have not seen the same level of
trouble, although video of a former French boxing champion
punching and kicking police in Paris shocked many.
Despite a relative decline in crowd trouble in Paris,
however, disturbances have flared up in other cities.
According to official figures, the biggest demonstration on
Saturday occurred in the southern city of Toulouse, where around
10,000 people took part. The demonstration turned violent as
evening fell, as protesters vandalised a bank and other shops.
Eight people were injured and there were 23 arrests.
Reuters correspondents also reported disturbances in
Bordeaux, Lyon and Marseille, while the local government
building was attacked in Angers, northwest of Paris.
Macron has launched a series of national debates to help
quell public discontent and restore his standing.
French far-right leader Marine Le Pen - soundly beaten by
Macron in the 2017 presidential election - is looking to take
advantage of the "yellow vests" crisis and win ground in the May
2019 European parliament elections.
On Saturday, Le Pen reiterated her support for the
protesters at a meeting near Marseille, at which she described
the movement as a "legitimate" and "courageous" revolt.
The Angers' member of parliament Matthieu Orphelin, a member
of Macron's LREM centrist party, said he would cancel talks with
members of the "yellow vests" in light of the trouble in Angers.
"It fills me with fury to see our beautiful town attacked in
this way, in particular the damage caused to symbols of the
Republic," Orphelin said in a statement.
(Additional reporting by Emmanuel Jarry, Charles Platiau, Julie
Rimbert in Toulouse, Marc Leras in Marseille and Claude Canellas
in Bordeaux; editing by Alexander Smith and Marguerita Choy)
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