Over 1,700 arrested in latest 'yellow vest' protests in France

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According to the French interior ministry, there were 24,000 demonstrators throughout the country by 2pm, compared with 33,500 on the previous Saturday.

After more than 13 hours of debate in the night of Friday, December 21, the package of reforms supported by 153 deputies, 9 voted against, 58 abstained. At one point, police used tear gas to disperse protesters and get traffic moving again.

The so-called yellow vest protesters - named after the fluorescent safety vests many don that are required in French cars - originally voiced opposition to a fuel tax hike but the movement grew to incorporate a myriad of other grievances in France.

Unlike previous weeks, streets and major tourist attractions in Paris such as Louvre Museum and Eiffel Tower remained open on Saturday.

The number of protesters has however fallen significantly since last week, when President Emmanuel Macron, a pro-business centrist, gave in to some of their demands.

Clashes broke out in several cities, including Marseille, Bordeaux, Lyon and Toulouse, during a fourth weekend of nationwide protests against rising living costs and President in general.

According to state-run radio France info, 109 people were arrested in the French capital, among them Eric Drouet, one of the movement's representatives.

Roadblocks were also reported in northern France near the border with Belgium, while about 100 people blocked Strasbourg's Europe Bridge, near the German border, until police arrived.

Editor Anne Domy said that she and her colleague Audrey Guiraud were "targeted, chased and beaten by a crowd of protesters that completely surrounded us".

The "Yellow Vest" protests have support of 41% of the French, unchanged in a week, an Elabe poll for BFM TV said Wednesday.

While the demonstrations were mainly calm compared to the Paris riots earlier in the month, there were concerns about their effect on pre-Christmas sales.

According to several reports in French media, a man died on Friday night near the southern city of Perpignan after his auto hit the back of a truck that had stopped near a group of protesters.

But only a few protesters showed up in Versailles.

Protests have been raging on across France since November 17 against the hike in fuel prices, with thousands of protestors taking to the streets throughout the nation.

On Friday evening, the French Senate approved the measures which should come into force early next year.