efe-epaParis

The arrest of almost 1,400 people in France - including more than 900 in Paris, often of a preventive nature to avoid greater problems - and the strategy of an emergency police force, helped limit the size of the disturbances this Saturday, the fourth straight Saturday of protests by the Yellow Vests movement.

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said that up to 1700 GMT, 1,385 people across France (920 in Paris) were arrested, and of those, 974 arrests were of a preventive nature and all related to the demonstrations that attracted 125,000 people around the country and 10,000 in the capital.

Castaner, who warned that the number of arrests will increase since the violence in Paris and some other cities will continue after nightfall, said that 118 demonstrators are known to have been injured along with 17 police.

He compared them to the 201 people injured among the protesters last Saturday and with the 284 police also injured then, amid scenes of urban guerrilla tactics - especially in Paris - which have traumatized the country and damaged its image abroad.

French authorities deployed 89,000 police and gendarmes (65,000 the week before), with 8,000 of them in the capital and this time with orders to act quickly against any fighting in order to prevent destruction, and also to raise barricades.

To that end, they used water cannons, tear gas and, for the first time in 40 years, a dozen armored cars.

The first clashes between police and protesters occurred at break of dawn in the Champs Elysees, the Yellow Vests' main meeting point.

With a view to prevention, and following last Saturday's vandalism, most businesses in the threatened areas remained closed, starting with the big department stores. Also closed were the monuments and museums of Paris like the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre.

In addition, from the early hours, 36 subway stations remained closed.

Other disturbances took place around the country, as in Bordeaux, Toulouse, Marseilles, Lyon and Nantes, where some 2,000 people marched to the Prefecture (government office) before they would have to face police using tear gas against them.

Demonstrations by the Yellow Vests movement began as a protest against increased taxes on fuel planned for 2019, a ruling that was annulled this week by the govenrment.

Even so, many still demand the resignation of President Emmanuel Macron as they continue to demand an increase in social spending on pensions and education, slashing taxes, improving infrastructure, curtailing immigration and ending the privatization of public services, among many other issues.