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Paris police also reportedly asked dozens of shops and restaurants around the Champs Elysees and Bastille, which have been some of the main spots of the protests, to close.

"If you are not aggressive, we will not be aggressive, a masked policeman said as a protester stuck yellow plastic flowers onto policemen".

Paris was on lockdown with major monuments and department stores shut and some 8,000 police on the streets following the worst rioting in the capital in decades last weekend.

The grassroots movement began as resistance against a rise in taxes for diesel and petrol, but quickly expanded to encompass frustration at stagnant incomes, the growing cost of living and other grievances.

He said the Louvre museum, Orsay museum, the two operas, and the Grand Palais were among the sites that would be closed a week after rioters looted and defaced the Arc de Triomphe. Out of the media spotlight, Macron met Friday night with riot police being deployed in Paris Saturday.

Police posted a video on Twitter of officers tackling a protester and confiscating his unsafe material, which appeared to be primarily a tennis racket.

But many "yellow vests" have urged fresh protests this weekend, claiming a series of of government concessions do not go far enough.

Hundreds of marchers tried to enter the European quarter of Brussels, throwing paving stones, road signs, fireworks, flares and other objects at police blocking their entry to an area where Mr Michel's offices, other government buildings and the parliament are located. An AP video journalist was wounded in the leg as police fired tear gas and rubber bullets on the Champs-Elysees.

Riot police stand in line during copycat "yellow vest" demonstrations rocking neighbouring France, on December 8, 2018 in Brussels.

Some could be held in the city centre on what is a major Christmas shopping weekend.

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Police said they had already detained some 354 people by Saturday morning ahead of the demonstrations. No injuries have been reported.

Authorities are deploying barricade-busting armored vehicles and 8,000 police in the capital alone; nationwide, some 89,000 security forces fanned out to deter or confront troublemakers expected at multiple protests.

Authorities say the protests have been hijacked by far-right and anarchist elements bent on violence and stirring up social unrest.

"We have prepared a robust response, ' Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said on Saturday. We know that the violent people are only strong because they hide themselves within the yellow vests, which hampers the security forces", he said Saturday.

Macron himself, the target of much of the protesters' ire, has been largely invisible in recent days, leaving his prime minister and government to try to negotiate with protesters.

Since the unrest began November 17 in response to a sharp increase in diesel taxes, four people have been killed in protest-related accidents. Top-flight football matches and concerts were cancelled.

Workers hammered plywood over the windows of shops and businesses, making the plush Champs-Elysees neighborhood appear to be bracing for a hurricane.

Many shops were boarded up to avoid looting and street furniture and construction site materials have been removed to prevent them from being used as projectiles.

The protesters began blocking roads, fuel depots and shopping centres around France on November 17 over soaring petrol prices that have hit people in the provinces who get around by vehicle.

After the plan was leaked, the French Interior Ministry "had to make changes" in its strategy and tactics to counter "the yellow vests protests, named after the reflective vests all French drivers are required to keep in their cars, according to the source".


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