Hundreds of 'yellow vest' protesters are detained in Paris

A protestor throws a road sign against the window of the Belfius bank during a copycat 'yellow vest' demonstration on Dec 8 2018 in Brussels

French troops deployed in Paris amid ‘yellow vest’ protest

"I hope he will speak to the people of France as a father, with love and respect and that he will take strong decisions", he said.

Demonstrations have since swelled into a broad, sometimes-violent rebellion against Macron - a challenge made more hard to handle since the movement has no formal leader. He made the unannounced visit, without the press, to a fort used as military accommodation in Nogent-sur-Marne, east of Paris, and thanked the officers for their work.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said 8,000 police would be deployed in Paris out of 89,000 nationwide, and that a dozen armoured vehicles would be stationed around the capital - a first. "And in case they set up barricades, we can quickly clear out the space and let our units progress". Those included the world-renowned Champs-Elysees Avenue, which would normally be packed with tourists and shoppers on a Saturday in early December.

"It's with an enormous sadness that we'll see our city partially brought to a halt, but your safety is our priority", Mayor Anne Hidalgo said in a statement. "Take care of Paris on Saturday because Paris belongs to all the French people".

The US embassy issued a warning to Americans in Paris to "keep a low profile and avoid crowds", while Belgium, Portugal and the Czech Republic advised citizens planning to visit Paris over the weekend to postpone their visit. "Now is the time for discussion", he said.

"We are here to tell (Macron) our discontent".

Four people have died in accidents during the protests and political leaders have appealed for calm. Now the demands of the "yellow vest" movement - named for the fluorescent safety vests that French motorists keep in their cars - are pressing for a wider range of benefits from the government to help French workers, retirees and students.

It comes after Mr Philippe announced on Tuesday that the government was abandoning planned increased to fuel taxes for at least six months in a desperate bid to end the violence. Many are calling on Macron to resign.

But the demonstrations have moved on and protesters are even demanding the President's resignation.

Students across France have joined the protests that have escalated over the past few weeks.

The footage, which has been shared widely on social media, has prompted trade unions and far-left parties to lash out at perceived police brutality.

A video showed officers in riot gear barking orders at dozens of high-school pupils kneeling on the ground with their hands behind their heads following a demonstration in Mantes-la-Jolie near Paris.

Interior minister Christophe Castaner said that 151 people were arrested in the small town, adding that some of them carried weapons.

As of Friday morning, about 700 educational establishments were engulfed and blockaded by protesters, with students expressing anger at the government's plans to reform the exam system, which they say will limit opportunity and breed inequality among applicants.

The rioting has also had an economic impact at the height of the holiday shopping season. Rampaging groups last weekend threw cobblestones through Paris storefronts and looted valuables in some of the city's richest neighbourhoods.

Demonstrators waving French flags and wearing the movement's signature neon vests gathered before dawn Saturday near the Arc de Triomphe, which was damaged in last week's rioting.

Meanwhile, the Nicolas wine chain, one of the biggest retailers in the country, cancelled all its wine tasting sessions scheduled for Saturday.

French authorities will close dozens of museums, tourism sites and shops on Saturday, including the Eiffel Tower and Louvre, fearing a recurrence of last week's violence in Paris, officials said on Thursday.

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