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Yellow Vests Protests Emmanuel Macron

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Yellow Vests wane ahead of Christmas break

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Protesters march on Paris' Champs-Elysées for 'Act VI' of France's Yellow Vest movement AFP

The wave of Yellow Vest protests sweeping France has continued to relent, following last weekend's downward trend. Three days before Christmas, the Paris prefecture said 2,000 people turned out in the capital, with scores arrested, including one of the movement's leaders.


Yellow Vests also turned out in smaller numbers across France for their sixth Saturday of nationwide protests.

In the captial the Champs-Elysees avenue remained relatively calm, after several weekends of chaos and destruction. Authorities shut down the Palace of Versailles, near Paris, over fears of unrest, after calls on social media to converge on the symbolic former residence of King Louis XVI, who was beheaded during the revolution.

Thousands on Facebook responded as "interested" in joining the Versailles demonstration, but only around 60 showed up.

The gathering was called by one of the movement's leaders, Eric Drouet, who earlier this morning changed locations, calling people to Montmartre in northern Paris.

French media reported more than 100 people arrested, including Drouet, for conspiring to commit violent acts.

Death toll reaches 10

Overnight in Perpignan in southern France a driver was killed when his car collided with a truck stopped at a roadblock set up by Yellow Vest protesters at the entrance to an autoroute, prosecutor Jean-Jacques Fagni told AFP.

There have now been 10 deaths related to the protests since they began on 17 November.

Further south, around 50 Yellow Vests briefly blocked trucks near the border between France and Spain before gendarmes stepped in.

Blockades were also reported in northern France near the border with Belgium.

More large demonstrations had been planned in cities such as Marseille, Lyon, Toulouse and Orleans.

Protests dwindling

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

Since the protests began, turnout has dropped from official estimates of 282,000 on 17 November to 166,000 on 24 November, around 136,000 on 1 and 8 December and 66,000 last Saturday.