French minister asks Trump not to meddle in French affairs

People are at work to build a wooden wall aimed at protecting the shop window of supermarket on the Champs Elysees in Paris

People are at work to build a wooden wall aimed at protecting the shop window of supermarket on the Champs Elysees in Paris

In France, authorities have also launched an investigation into social media activity from accounts allegedly drumming up support for the protests, sources told AFP.

According to the Alliance for Securing Democracy, about 600 Twitter accounts known to promote Kremlin views have begun focusing on France, boosting their use of the hashtag #giletsjaunes, the French name for the Yellow Vest movement. But the move failed to end the "yellow vest" movement, which demands lower taxes, higher minimum wages and better pension benefits. Chanting "We Want Trump!"

And hitting back at Mr Trump's claim over the Paris Agreement, the Frenchman said most Americans disagreed with the U.S. leader over his decision to walk away from the climate accord.

As in previous weeks, a peaceful core of protesters - many of them from provincial towns and cities, and from the suburbs of Paris - was infliltrated by extreme-right, extreme-left and anarchist elements that defied riot police.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the President should not meddle in French affairs after Mr Trump tweeted attacks on President Macron's policy agenda.

Named after the fluorescent safety vests that French motorists must carry, the "yellow vest" protests erupted out of nowhere on November 17, when almost 300,000 demonstrators nationwide took to the streets to denounce high living costs and Macron's liberal economic reforms. "Leave our nation be". But, mindful of France's deficit and not wanting to flout European Union rules, Macron has scant wriggle room for more concessions.

Violence linked to the protests are a "catastrophe" for the nation's economy, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire warned on Sunday. "Television channels and newspapers are full of photos of burning cars, looted shops and the most violent police crackdowns on protesters", he said.

Last weekend, more than 130 people were injured and over 400 were arrested in the worst street violence seen in Paris in decades.

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Police and protesters also clashed in other French cities, notably Marseille, Toulouse, and Bordeaux, and in neighboring Belgium.

Police arrested 1,700 people nationwide and held 1,200 in custody after containing several late night skirmishes. "It is anger that is hard to understand from an office in Paris".

The interior ministry said some 136,000 people took part in Saturday's protests, around the same number as on December 1.

"There was much more damage yesterday than there was a week ago".

"There was much more dispersion, so many more places were impacted", Emmanuel Gregoire told France Inter radio.

Police and groups of protesters were fighting running battles in the streets, with protesters hurling rocks and attempting to throw tear gas canisters back at police. Most were taken in for carrying weapons, like knives, or objects that could be used to cause injury, including petanque balls or tear gas.

The measures include mobilizing 8,000 police officers in the French capital and closing such famous sites as the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre museum.

Protesters had ripped off the plywood protecting some of the shop windows.

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