‘Do not weaken’: Italy’s leaders back France’s ‘yellow vest’ protesters

Yellow Vest

Meanwhile, the Macron government has pledged to crack down on the protesters following their eighth consecutive weekend of action, with Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announcing on Monday that the administration is considering banning participation in unauthorised protests.

He said the government would support a new law to punish the organisers of unauthorised protests, banning known troublemakers from taking part and arresting demonstrators who turn up wearing masks to hide their identities.

It was the latest of weekly protests since November that have often spilled into running battles with police in Paris and other cities, with dozens of vehicles set ablaze and stores vandalised.

Known as "The Gypsy From Massy", the 37-year-old man had turned himself in on Monday and remained in police custody.

Christophe Dettinger, who was twice national light-heavyweight champion, was caught on camera jumping over the railings of a pedestrian bridge blocked by baton-wielding police before swinging blows at the officers, forcing them to retreat.

Despite his self-confessed violence during disturbances in Paris last Saturday, he describes himself as an ordinary citizen, neither a right-wing nor left-wing extremist. "We know about benevolence shown by certain propaganda tools - I don't even say media - such as Russia Today toward the movement", Griveaux told reporters.

News of the amount she was due to be paid, which is roughly on a par with the President's salary, sparked angry reaction from yellow vests and opposition figures.

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Budget Minister Gerald Darmanin sought to distinguish genuine protesters, who want lower taxes and more help for low-income families, from those "who are in the business of ultra-violence".

Images of a policeman striking several protesters in the southern city of Toulon on Saturday also risk fanning the flames.

"Faced with ultra-violence, we need to be ultra-severe".

The move led to criticism from political leaders on the far right and radical left, who have encouraged demonstrators to continue taking to the streets.

Protesters plan to empty their bank accounts on Saturday, withdrawing as much money as possible in a bid to undermine the French banks - if not the euro itself. Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio, who heads the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S), wrote on his party's blog.

De Maio implored the Yellow Vest movement to ignore the French elite speaking down to them.

The spat between the two countries threatens to worsen European Union political and economic divisions as each country exploits the other's political and socio-economic tensions while underscoring the increasingly sour relations between Paris and Rome.

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