France: Growing numbers at new round of Yellow Vest protests

Yellow Vest protesters defy tear gas, January 12.

Thousands took part in the latest round of yellow vest protests in France on January 12 as President Emmanuel Macron announced a national debate in a bid to quell the growing unrest.

More than 84,000 demonstrators took to the streets across the country, a rise on the previous week according to official figures as the movement shows no sign of abating, Morning Star Online reported.

Concessions offered by Macron, including a pause in the fuel tax which triggered the protests and a rise in the minimum wage, have been rejected as protests continued for the ninth week.

Police mobilised across the capital and used tear gas and water cannons as clashes broke out near the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. There were 244 people arrested across the country.

Macron has initiated a series of debates which will take place online and in public halls across France to discuss four themes: taxes, green energy, institutional reform and citizenship.

However, protesters have dismissed the plans as a gimmick and called for Macron to resign and call fresh elections.