The government deployed a massive police presence on Saturday as it feared yellow-vest supporters would take advantage of authorised protests over climate change and pension reform to cause disruption in the French capital.

Protesters run away from tear gas during a demonstration on Act 45 (the 45th consecutive national protest on Saturday) of the yellow vests movement in Paris, France, on September 21, 2019.
Protesters run away from tear gas during a demonstration on Act 45 (the 45th consecutive national protest on Saturday) of the yellow vests movement in Paris, France, on September 21, 2019. (Reuters)

French police fired tear gas and made dozens of arrests on Saturday as they dispersed groups of "yellow vest" protesters attempting to stage unauthorised rallies in central Paris.

The government deployed a massive police presence as it feared yellow-vest supporters would take advantage of authorised protests over climate change and pension reform to cause disruption in the French capital.

Police had made 90 arrests in Paris by around midday local time (1000 GMT) and pushed back around one hundred protesters attempting to gath er on the Champs-Elysees shopping avenue, the Paris police prefecture said.

Some 7,500 police were mobilised, several districts including the Champs-Elysees were made out-of-bounds for protests, and over 30 metro stations closed.

The yellow vest protesters, named after motorists' high-visibility jackets, were holding a 45th consecutive Saturday of action and seeking to revive participation in demonstrations that have sometimes turned violent.

The yellow vest movement erupted 10 months ago and blindsided President Emmanuel Macron, who protesters accused of being out of touch with the needs of ordinary French people.

Their weekly demonstrations prompted Macron to loosen the state's purse strings to the tune of nearly 17 billion euros ($18.8 billion) in wage boosts and tax cuts for low earners, but tapered off over the summer.

The government's planned overhaul of France's retirement system prompted a massive strike by metro workers on September 13, shutting most of the underground transport network.

The authorities also took precautions so protesters do not disrupt an annual heritage event this weekend that gives the public special access to many historic sites.

Some sites like the Arc de Triomphe monument were closed while others like the Elysee presidential palace required visitors to register in advance.

Source: AFP