Protesters march through Paris amid fears of new violence

A vandalized automatic bank teller is seen the day after clashes during a national day of protest by the 'yellow vests' movement in Bordeaux France

French troops deployed in Paris amid ‘yellow vest’ protest

Offshoot movements have emerged elsewhere, and yellow-vest protests were held Saturday in Belgium and the Netherlands.

Large parts of Paris are in lockdown and many tourist attractions, museums, major department stores and metro stations shut as the capital braces for possible violence and rioting from a fringe element of the protest movement.

About 8,000 police will be deployed across Paris, equipped with a dozen barricade-busting armored vehicles that could be used for the first time in a French urban area since riots in 2005.

Around 70 people were arrested Saturday in the Belgian capital Brussels during copycat "yellow vest" demonstrations rocking neighbouring France, police said.

Mr Macron's government had warned that the yellow vest protests had created a "monster" and the Paris actions would be hijacked by "radicalised and rebellious" crowds to become the most risky yet after three weeks of demonstrations.

After two weekends of violence in Paris that made the authorities look powerless to secure their capital, police went into overdrive on Saturday to keep a lid on unrest.

The grassroots movement began as resistance against a rise in taxes for diesel and petrol, but quickly expanded to encompass frustration at stagnant incomes, the growing cost of living and other grievances.

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By midday, more than 500 had been detained in Paris, according to a Paris police spokeswoman.

Macron's government warned that Saturday's "yellow vest" protests in Paris will be hijacked by "radicalized and rebellious" crowds and become the most risky yet after three weeks of demonstrations.

"We are not black bloc [black clad anarchists], we are ordinary people voicing our anger", said a protester who did not want to be identified.

Internet users have voiced their utmost outrage over recently released videos sporting French high school students standing on their knees, with their hands on their heads, as helmeted police officers are shown standing nearby grabbing their batons.

Defending the treatment of the children, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner aid: "Over the past few days, the students have been joined by about 100 hooded youths armed with clubs and incendiary devices and determined to pick a fight with police".

"We need to protect culture sites in Paris but also everywhere in France", Culture Minister Franck Riester told RTL radio.

President Emmanuel Macron met Friday night with about 60 anti-riot security officers who will be deployed in Paris.

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Despite the climbdown, the "yellow vests" continue to demand more concessions from the government, including lower taxes, higher salaries, cheaper energy costs, better retirement provisions and even Macron's resignation.

Four people have been killed in accidents since the unrest began on November 17.

Meanwhile, Macron seemingly has gone missing as his government tries to curb the chaos caused by his unpopular gas-tax plan.

Many protesters slammed the French media for portraying the protests as led by violent agitators and for siding with Macron's government.

The rioting in France has also had an economic impact at the height of the holiday shopping season. Dozens of streets across central Paris have been closed, and shopkeepers have boarded up storefronts for fear of looting.

Mr Castaner continued: "The troublemakers can only be effective when they disguise themselves as yellow vests".

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