Police use tear gas in Paris protest against Macron

Macron has seen his popularity slide to just 25 percent according to one poll a week ago and the protests reflect broader frustration with a leader critics label as aloof and

Officials said 19 people were hurt, including four police officers, and one victim who sustained serious injuries.

Macron responded in a strongly worded tweet: "Shame on those who attacked (police)".

Macron, who took to Twitter on Saturday, to condemn the violence and cry "shame" on those who assaulted or intimidated policemen, journalists and other citizens, was in Brussels Sunday for a short summit of European Union leaders on Britain's Brexit deal.

"It's going to trigger a civil war and me, like most other citizens, we're all ready", said Benjamin Vrignaud, a 21-year-old protester from Chartres.

'We've been forced to deploy a water cannon and used tear gas to stop them getting to a secure zone.

"We have just demonstrated peacefully, and we were teargassed", said Christophe, 49, who traveled from the Isere region in eastern France with his wife to protest in the capital.

Protesters clad in fluorescent jackets, dubbed "yellow vests", have blocked highways across France since November 17, setting up burning barricades and deploying convoys of slow-moving trucks, often denying access to shopping centres and some factories.

Dozens of people were arrested after the protests at the Champs-Elysees turned violent, reported BBC.

Almost 300,000 people blocked motorways, roundabouts, businesses, and fuel depots last Saturday and smaller protests have continued this week, with an estimated 5,000 people wearing the fluorescent yellow jackets taking part on Friday.

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The demonstrations included protesters lighting fires and police using tear gas and water cannons to disperse them.

The unrest is a dilemma for Macron who casts himself as a champion against climate change but has been derided as out of touch with common folk and is fighting a slump in popularity. A large section of the public has accused him of ignoring the needs of ordinary people.

Macron has insisted the fuel tax rises are a necessary pain to reduce France's dependence on fossil fuels and fund renewable energy investments - a cornerstone of his reforms of the nation.

Some 3,000 police officers have been drafted in to work in Paris on Saturday, city hall said, with security forces having to handle a demonstration against sexual violence, a soccer match and a rugby game in the capital on the same day.

On the nearby Avenue de Friedland, police fired special rubber balls at protesters to control rioters.

Authorities are struggling because the movement has no clear leader and has attracted a motley group of people with broadly varying demands.

The anger is mainly over a hike in the diesel fuel tax, which has gone up seven euro cents per litre (nearly 30 US cents per gallon) and will keep climbing in coming years, according to Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne.

Notably, taxes were increased by 8 centimes last January on diesel, and by 4 centimes on petrol. Tax on diesel will also increase by another 6.4 euro cents in 2019, and by 2.9 cents for petrol. Gasoline in Paris now costs more than $7 a gallon, slightly more than diesel.

"Today, the far right has mobilised", he told reporters.

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