'Yellow vests' storm French ministry as protests turn violent
"Yellow vest" protesters returned in force to the streets of France this weekend, clashing with police in several cities and smashing their way into a government ministry in Paris with the help of a forklift truck.
The interior ministry put the number of protesters who took to the streets on Saturday at 50,000, compared with 32,000 on December 29 when the movement appeared to be weakening after holding a series of weekly Saturday protests since mid-November.
Government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux, who was evacuated from his ministry in central Paris when a handful of protesters in high-visibility vests smashed down the large wooden door to the ministry compound, denounced the break-in as an "unacceptable attack on the Republic".
"Some yellow vest protesters and other people dressed in black ... got hold of a construction vehicle which was in the street nearby and smashed open the entrance gate to the ministry," he told AFP.