Protesters are showing solidarity with Genevieve Legay, a 73-year-old anti-globalisation activist who suffered a head injury in the southern city of Nice last weekend.

Anti-globalisation activist Genevieve Legay demonstrates in front of French Gendarmes as French
Anti-globalisation activist Genevieve Legay demonstrates in front of French Gendarmes as French "yellow vests" stage their 19th round of protests in Nice, France on March 23, 2019. (Reuters)

French yellow vest protesters were rallying on Saturday to support an activist injured in a confrontation with police and show they remain mobilised against the government's economic policies.

The demonstrators are undeterred by protest bans or repeated injuries in 20 weeks of demonstrations. So they're marching again on Saturday in Paris, Bordeaux, and other cities to keep pressing President Emmanuel Macron to do more to help the working classes, redesign French politics — or step down altogether.

They're also showing solidarity with Genevieve Legay, a 73-year-old anti-globalisation activist who suffered a head injury in the southern city of Nice last weekend.

The Nice prosecutor said a police officer pushed her down.

"We are all Genevieve!" read an online appeal for Saturday's protests.

In Paris, thousands of yellow vests started marching from the Gare de l'Est, in the north of the city centre. They were heading south to weave through the Left Bank and past the Eiffel Tower.

The French capital was placed under high security. Protests were banned around the Champs-Elysees, scene of recent rioting.

The movement has appeared to lose support in recent weeks, drawing significantly smaller crowds than at its beginning in November, when hundreds of thousands of people mobilised across France, initially to oppose fuel tax hikes, before expanding into a broader rejection of Macron's economic policies.

The government is expected to announce next month a new batch of measures as a result of a "great debate" launched by Macron so that ordinary French people can express their views on the country's economic and democratic issues.

French banks call for end to violence

French banks called on Saturday for an end to violence against branches, cash machines and personnel as the country braced for a 20th day of "yellow vest" protests.

"It is time for all to condemn acts committed against banks," the French banking federation's executive committee said in comments published in the daily Le Monde.

Banks have often been the targets of vandalism and arson during the protests, and last week 11 people were injured when a Banque Tarneaud branch was set on fire near the Champs Elysees.

"We must quickly put a stop to this unbridled and unjustified violence," the federation said.

It called for order to be restored "so that our colleagues and shopowners can work safely" and meet their clients needs.

The call was echoed by the police union Alliance, which told AFP on Saturday its members "were fed up" with critics that sought to blame them for the violence.

"Our duty is to maintain public peace, even if that sometimes means restoring public order," Alliance secretary general Frederic Lagache said.

The banking federation's executive committee comprises the bosses of six large French banks; BPCE, BNP Paribas, Credit Mutuel, Banque Postale, Credit Agricole and Societe Generale.

"For a little more than four months, hundreds of local branches that are essential links in local life... have been targeted, vandalised, pillaged and burned, and bank officers physically threatened," the federation said.

With taxes a key trigger in the initial protests, it said French banks were the primary contributor to fiscal revenues.

France counts 37,000 bank branches and the sector employs more than 360,000 people.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies