Thousands of Yellow Vests protesters took to the streets throughout France on Friday, as pro-reform rallies continued.
Despite President Emmanuel Macron launching a national debate aimed at resolving this situation, the Yellow Vests are still calling for his resignation, as some 27,000 took part in rallies in various parts of the country, including an 8,000-strong protest in Paris, according to figures released by the French Interior Ministry, as cited by AP.
In response, authorities deployed over 80,000 police and gendarmerie officers across the country — around 5,000 in Paris alone — to maintain order, though it seemingly wasn’t enough to prevent violence breaking out, with at least 30 protesters being arrested in the French capital.
DIRECT 🇫🇷 Gilets jaunes à Paris: Les forces de l'ordre visées par un mortier d'artifice au départ des incidents sur l'avenue de Trouville, près des Invalides. (images @Actu17). #ActeX https://t.co/ZfMfb9LvK5 pic.twitter.com/5xDtH7bVGa— Actu17 (@Actu17) 19 января 2019 г.
In Bordeaux, some 4,000 Yellow Vests took part in the rally, where young men wearing helmets and masks clashed with law enforcement.
🚨 #France ℹ #Bordeaux 🔴 explosive SITUATION 💥 right now ongoing between #GiletsJaunes and regime forces during #ActeX #19January #YellowVests #Resistance #GJ #Solidarity #GiletsJaune #Breaking pic.twitter.com/0Xrz9LIKWP— Partisan FB🏴 (@PartisanDE) 19 января 2019 г.
About 2,000 rallied in the centre of Rennes, where two police officers were injured in clashes with protesters.
#GiletsJaunes #Rennes Montée de la tension place du Parlement. Vers 17h45 La police lance des grenades assourdissantes ou de désencerclement et des lacrymogènes. Des projectiles partent. La nuit arrive et la situation se tend pic.twitter.com/rbhTPVXXt2— François Lorin (@francois_lorin) 19 января 2019 г.
Conflicting reports emerged from Lille, with local authorities claiming that 1,500 protesters took part in the Act Ten rally, while organisers claimed they mustered twice that number, according to AFP.
The Yellow Vests protests, aptly named after the reflective jacket all drivers in France are required to carry in their vehicles, began in mid-November, sparked by concerns over an impending gas and diesel tax hike.
While Paris has since scrapped the proposed tax increase, the protests have evolved into a broader movement against government policies and rising living costs.
Earlier this week, French President Emmanuel Macron launched a national debate aimed at pacifying the protests, but has seemingly failed to address protesters' concerns.