Yellow Vests Spill Into New Year Across France, Thousands Still Rallying

A Yellow vest protester is attended by others after being injured during a rally in Nantes

A Yellow vest protester is attended by others after being injured during a rally in Nantes

Hundreds of protesters are trying to breathe new life into France's apparently waning yellow vest movement with marches in Paris and gatherings in other cities, but numbers appeared down on their first demonstration of the new year. Smoke and tear gas wafted above the Orsay Museum and the gold dome of the French Academy as riot police, almost invisible at the start of the demonstration, moved front and centre when protesters deviated from an officially approved path.

Protestors walk by a burning trash can during a Yellow Vest anti-government demonstration in Lille, northern France, on January 5, 2019.

Some protesters set bins ablaze and material damage included several burned out motorcycles strewn across streets. She works 25 hours a week in a baker's.

"We have to give power back to the people and not a minority that serves its own interests", said a second yellow vest protester outside the old stock market building.

Public anger has on occasion been directed at the media, seen by some as too close to the government.

The "Yellow Vest" protests are named after the garments that drivers have to carry in their cars by law in France in case of emergency.

Police made four arrests Friday evening in the northeastern city of Nancy after some 50 demonstrators tried to block the entrance of newspaper L'Est Republicain.

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Government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux said before Saturday's march that those still protesting "want insurrection".

The latest opinion poll, published on Thursday by Odoxa Dentsu, indicated 55 per cent public support for the "yellow vest" protests.

The government has deployed police around France to deal with the protests, backed up by specialist response units, sources told AFP.

They remain outraged at the cost of living and President Emmanuel Macron's economic policies.

The yellow vest movement was launched to express anger over fuel tax hikes hurting working people who commute by auto, but grew to encompass broader anger over Macron's economic policies, deemed to favour the rich.

Last month, Macron promised tax cuts for pensioners, wage rises for the poorest workers and the scrapping of planned fuel tax increases to quell the unrest at a cost to the Treasury of 10 billion euros ($A16 billion).

It was the first big U-turn for a president elected 18 months earlier on a platform to break with traditional French politics and liberalise the heavily regulated economy.

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