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"The movement has given birth to a monster", Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said Friday as he detailed security measures at a news conference.

Security forces arrested 1,723 people across France, according to the interior ministry, 1,220 of whom were ordered held in custody.

After the President last week retreated by cancelling a fuel tax increase planned for January, members of his government and even some members of opposition parties had called on the yellow vests to ignore calls for fresh protests after demonstrations on Dec 1 and 2 led to widespread vandalism and vehicle burnings across Paris.

Outbreaks of violence were on a smaller scale than the destruction and looting of a week earlier, but protesters once again set fire to cars, burned barricades and smashed windows in pockets of violence across Paris.

The protests that started in France made its mark in Belgium and Netherlands, too, as hundreds of "yellow-vests" descended upon the streets of Brussels and Rotterdam.

Last weekend Trump also cited the protests in France to defend his decision to pull the US out of the climate agreement reached in December 2015. Organized via social media, the Yellow Vests in Brussels will amass around European Union institutions in the city.

Some 8,000 police were deployed, carrying out checks on people arriving at train stations and at protest hotspots such as the Champs-Elysees and Bastille monument.

Yet in a sign of the financial disconnect that infuriates numerous protesters, a few blocks from the famed boulevard, people were sitting in Paris cafes, drinking cocktails and chatting.

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A protester wearing a yellow vest attends a demonstration during a national day of protest by the "yellow vests" movement in Paris, France, December 8, 2018.

Shops, museums, the Eiffel Tower and many metro stations were closed as much of the city-centre went on effective lockdown. Castaner, who warned that the number of arrests will increase since the violence in Paris and some other cities will continue, said that 118 demonstrators were known to have been injured along with 17 police officials. "I hope he will speak to the people of France as a father, with love and respect and that he will take strong decisions", Mr Chalencon said.

French authorities on Saturday arrested more than 650 protesters during the latest wave of anti-government protests over a hike in fuel prices in the capital, global media reported.

But the "yellow vests", some of whom who have become increasingly radicalised, are holding out for more. The grassroots movement began as resistance against a rise in taxes for diesel and gasoline, but quickly expanded to encompass frustration at stagnant incomes and the growing cost of living.

Macron had previously vowed to stay the course in his bid to shake up the French economy and not be swayed by mass protests that have forced previous presidents to back down.

But the policy, along with hikes on pensioners' taxes, cuts in housing allowances and a string of comments deemed insensitive to ordinary workers, has led critics to label him a "president of the rich".

The climbdown on higher fuel taxes - which were meant to help France transition to a greener economy - marked a major departure for the centrist president.

Protests at dozens of schools over university reforms, and a call by farmers for demonstrations next week, have added to a sense of general revolt in France.


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