How have the protests escalated?
The French interior ministry says the total number of people demonstrating has dropped since its peak on 17 November, when about 285,000 people demonstrated across France. On 1 December, two weeks after the first protests, the interior ministry said that at 3pm 75,000 people were on the streets. It is thought that about 100,000 in total demonstrated in France throughout the day.
However, violence has escalated at the weekly Paris protests held on Saturdays. While thousands demonstrated peacefully on 1 December, about 3,000 people fought running battles with police, burned more than 100 cars, set fire to several buildings and smashed bank windows and shopfronts on some of the most expensive streets in the capital.
Authorities blamed extreme-right and extreme-left “professional” rioters. There were also violent clashes with police in Toulouse.
A poll for Harris Interactive conducted after last Saturday’s violence in Paris found 72% of French people continued to support the gilets jaunes but 85% said they disagreed with the violence in Paris.