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France’s Yellow Vests gather as movement turns one year old

Demonstrators from France's "Yellow Vest" movement gathered in the capital Paris and other cities on Saturday, almost exactly one year after the protest movement first made its mark nationwide.

Paris, 16 November 2019 (dpa/MIA) – Demonstrators from France’s “Yellow Vest” movement gathered in the capital Paris and other cities on Saturday, almost exactly one year after the protest movement first made its mark nationwide.

Police in Paris said they had carried out checks on more than 1,000 people and had arrested about a dozen people.

Some Yellow Vest protesters – whose name comes from the high-visibility vests that became the movement’s trademark – blocked an important motorway in the north-west of the city.

The blockade was quickly removed by police, however, broadcaster BFMTV reported.

Security forces were deployed in large numbers to prevent any rioting, and several underground stations were closed in the capital on Saturday.

On the famous Champs-Elysees boulevard – the scene of some of the worst violence in the last year linked to the protests – demonstrations have been banned over the weekend.

Groups of Yellow Vests assembled instead in southern and north-western areas of Paris. Police used tear gas to disperse the crowds, according to local media.

The first nationwide protest by the Yellow Vests took place on November 17, 2018. Some 283,000 protesters blocked roads around the country in protest against a planned fuel tax rise.

President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist government later cancelled the tax rise, but the protesters raised broader demands about the cost of living and called for more direct democracy.

The de-centralized movement has since lost steam and has in recent months failed to generate the kind of turnout that shocked the country a year ago.

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