PARIS (AP) — Anti-government protesters marched in France for a 25th straight week Saturday but in significantly smaller numbers than during the yellow vest movement’s first months or for a May Day rally that attracted tens of thousands of participants.
Several dozen people demonstrated at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport to denounce privatization plans. Protests were also held in Paris and other cities around France, including Nice, Marseille and Lyon, where environmentalists and yellow vest protesters joined forces.
The Interior Ministry counted a total of 2,600 participants at three events in Paris and 18,900 in all of France, a low for Saturday protest marches, according to French media reports.
Security was visibly lighter than on Wednesday, when French officials deployed 7,400 officers from around the country to police the annual May Day march organized by labor unions.
During that march, clusters of protesters wearing masks and hoods set trash bin fires, vandalized property and threw rocks at riot police, who responded with tear gas, rubber projectiles and stun grenades.
The leaderless yellow vest movement sprang up in mid-November with workers who rely on their cars camping out at traffic circles to protest a hike in fuel taxes. They wore the high-visibility vests all French drivers must keep in their cars for emergencies.
It quickly expanded to encompass a range of economic issues and policies of French President Emmanuel Macron that were seen as favoring the rich.
Macron responded last month with measures that included tax cuts for middle class workers and plans to close France’s elite school for top civil servants, while defending his pro-business policies.
Three lists of yellow vest candidates are running in a May 26 election for France’s representatives to the European Union parliament.