'Yellow vests' protesters storm French ministry; protests turn violent
The interior ministry put the number of protesters who took to the streets on Saturday at 50,000, compared with 32,000 on December 29 when the movement appeared to be weakening after holding a series of weekly Saturday protests since mid-November
"Yellow vest" protesters returned in force to the streets of France this weekend, clashing with police in several cities and smashing their way into a government ministry in Paris with a forklift truck.
The interior ministry put the number of protesters who took to the streets on Saturday at 50,000, compared with 32,000 on December 29 when the movement appeared to be weakening after holding a series of weekly Saturday protests since mid-November.
Government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux, who was evacuated from his ministry in central Paris when a handful of protesters in high-visibility vests smashed down the large wooden door to the ministry compound, denounced the break-in as an "unacceptable attack on the Republic".
"Some protesters got hold of a construction vehicle which was in the street nearby and smashed open the gate to the ministry," he said. President Emmanuel Macron did not specifically refer to the incident, but tweeted his condemnation of the "extreme violence" against "the Republic, its guardians, its representatives and its symbols". The police said 35 protesters are arrested.
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