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    Masked protesters wearing yellow vests, a symbol of a French drivers' protest against higher fuel prices, take part in a demonstration on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, France, November 24, 2018

    Yellow Vest Protesters Across France Exceed 38,000 - Reports

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    MOSCOW/PARIS (Sputnik) - The number of demonstrators who are taking part in “yellow vest” rallies across France on Saturday has exceeded 38,000, local media reported, citing the Interior Ministry.

    According to the Europe 1 radio station, 38,600 protesters are partaking in the rallies as of 6:00 p.m. local time (17:00 GMT). Last weekend, the number reached 66,000 people.

    Earlier in the day, the ministry reported that some 23,800 protesters were taking part in the protests nationwide.

    Meanwhile, the France Info radio station reported that the police had detained 220 protesters across the country, with 81 of them taken into custody.

    A Sputnik correspondent earlier reported that police had used water cannons and tear gas to disperse the protesters on the Champs Elysee in Paris. The protesters have left the main avenue.

    The wave of the so-called yellow vest protests — named after the obligatory attribute of French drivers — started in mid-November.

    READ MORE: Allegations of Russian Link to 'Yellow Vests' a Real Flop — French Journo

    While the French government has scrapped its planned hike in diesel taxes, which is what initially sparked the protests, the “yellow vests” have evolved into a broader movement against government policies and rising living costs. The rallies have been marked by violent clashes between protesters and the police.

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