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French PM ponders crackdown on gilets jaunes violence

media Prime minister Edouard Philippe says tougher public order laws are needed to stem the violence which has erupted during gilets jaunes demonstrations. Reuters/Philippe Wojazer

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe is on Monday expected to announce a package of measures to combat the increasing conflict at weekend demonstrations of the Yellow Vest movement.

"Following unacceptable violence across France, the government plans to respond decisively," said a statement from the prime minister's office.

Around 50,000 people took part in "act eight" on 5 January in several French cities including Paris, Bordeaux and Toulouse. More than 340 people were arrested with 281 detained, according to figures released by the French interior ministry.

Philippe will outline the tough stance in a TV interview on the TF1's national news programme 20 heures.

Nearly 300,000 people took to the streets in "act one" on 17 November to protest against government plans to raise the price of fuel. President Emmanuel Macron's administration relented but the protests continued with demands for more referendums.

In the most serious flashpoints during "act eight", a group of gilets jaunes smashed down door at the town hall in Rennes and in Dijon, a policeman was hit with an iron bar during an attack on a police barracks.

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