Donald Trump throws his support behind Paris 'yellow vest' protests

A demonstrator watches a burning car near the Champs Elysees avenue during a demonstration last Saturday in Paris. 

Hundreds of marchers tried to enter the European quarter of Brussels, throwing paving stones, road signs, fireworks, flares and other objects at police blocking their entry to an area where Mr Michel's offices, other government buildings and the parliament are located.

Authorities said some 8,000 people were demonstrating in Paris, where 600 people had been searched and briefly arrested.

The students were detained by police in the Paris suburb of Mantes-la-Jolie, in unrest that has spread to dozens of schools during three weeks of anti-government demonstrations. The national gendarme service posted a video on Twitter of police tackling a protester and confiscating his unsafe material, which appeared to be primarily a tennis racket.

More than 106,000 demonstrators are recorded across France, including 8,000 in Paris.

Hundreds of protesters were milling around the Arc de Triomphe monument, which was defaced with graffiti last Saturday, when rioters also torched cars and looted shops. He said he was fleeing the Champs-Elysees, choked with tear gas, when police moved in.

Tires were also set on fire, but with riot police outnumbering the demonstrators by about two to one, there were none of the violent scenes that grabbed worldwide attention a week ago.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said the government was ready to consider "any measure which would allow us to boost spending power".

"Take care of Paris on Saturday, because Paris belongs to all the French people".

Macron announced earlier this week that the planned hikes in petrol and diesel taxes, which sparked the protest movement, would be cancelled outright. Most of the disturbances have been in Paris, where tear gas and water cannon were unleashed to disperse what French authorities are saying are armed, professional provocateurs, who traveled from across the continent.

On the Champs Elysees, numerous more peaceful Yellow Vests chanted for Macron to resign. Violence is never a good way to get what you want.

Even as blue armoured trucks rumbled over cobblestone streets in Paris, a larger environmental march took place peacefully Saturday toward the city's Republique Plaza. "We want equality, we want to live, not survive", said Guillaume Le Grac, 28, who works in a slaughterhouse in the town of Guingamp in Britanny.

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In the video, which was first posted online in June, demonstrators chant "we want Trump" in English as a man in a rubber Trump mask stands on top of a bus. They appeared to be outnumbered by police, with 8,000 officers deployed in the capital alone and 89,000 fanned out around the country.

A total of 737 people had been arrested before or during the protests, police told ABC News, adding that 55 people - including three police officers - were also injured.

Pedestrians walk past wood panels protecting the "Cafe de la Paix" on the eve of a "yellow vests" protest in Paris, France, December 7, 2018.

For France, it was the fourth straight weekend of nationwide protests.

Prized Paris monuments and normally bustling shopping meccas were locked down at the height of the holiday shopping season.

Tourists were few and residents were advised to stay at home if at all possible.

Parts of the city centre were on effective lockdown, with shops, museums, the Eiffel Tower and many metro stations closed.

"I hope they don't make it as far as here", said Anthony, a fruit stall vendor in the residential left bank, who declined to give his surname.

Demonstrations have since swelled into a broad, sometimes violent rebellion against Macron, a challenge made more hard to handle since the movement has no formal leader.

The French capital experienced its worst riots in decades last weekend, in scenes that shook the country and plunged President Emmanuel Macron's government into its deepest crisis so far.

Four people have died since the unrest began on November 17. This article has been updated throughout.

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