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French 'yellow vest' protester loses fingers in violent unrest

11 February 2019

In Paris on Saturday, February 9, in front of the National Assembly clashed protesters "yellow jackets" with the police.

Italian Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio said French President Emmanuel Macron saw his meeting with Yellow Vests protesters as "lese-majeste", defending a controversial move that prompted Paris to recall the French ambassador from Rome and sparked a crisis in bilateral ties.

The protesters on Saturday marched through the streets of Paris and other cities on the 13th consecutive weekend of rallies against political elite and the economic policies of Macron.

Police used batons and fired tear gas in Paris to disperse demonstrators, some of whom threw debris at riot police.

As the march continued on its way towards Boulevard Saint Michel, vandals targeted bus shelters, cars and shop windows along the route.

One of the torched cars belonged to Sentinelle, France's anti-terrorism unit.

French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner went to Twitter to express his "disgust" as protesters set alight an anti-terror military vehicle.

"Nothing justifies intimidations and violence toward an elected official of the Republic", said Macron, in a tweet in relation to the incident. "He wanted to bat it away so it didn't explode by his leg and it went off when he touched it".

The AP reports police said the injured protester lost four fingers. By 2pm officers had arrested 10 people, they added.

"And you cannot just say "let's go on with austerity because it's the only thing we can do".

At the march in the southeast city of Lyon, Benard, a 56-year-old computer technician expressed scepticism about Macron's "great debate" initiative created to address people's grievances.

Tens of thousands of protesters turned out in other parts of France, including the port cities of Marseille and Montpellier and also in Bordeaux and Toulouse in the southwest.

She said: "The Yellow Vests did not see themselves in any of the politics in France".

French 'yellow vest' protester loses fingers in violent unrest