French protesters want to set off bank run with withdrawals

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French police arrested a former professional boxer on Monday who was seen punching police officers during a "yellow vest" protest in Paris, in shocking scenes that have highlighted the violence of recent protests.

The police at times appeared defenceless, with former heavyweight fighter Christophe Dettinger, 37, filmed landing blows on officers guarding a bridge leading to the National Assembly. "We have on the one side a violent movement ... and on the other a government which thinks it can find the answers all on its own", Berger told France Inter.

"Faced with ultra-violence, we need to be ultra-severe". Leetchi said the funds were intended only for legal fees.

With protesters from the "yellow vest" movement calling on social media for ninth weekend of protest on Saturday, Philippe said 80,000 police nationwide would be deployed to stave off another round of violent social action that began on November 17, 2018.

"Everyone must assume their responsibilities: this kitty is shameful", he added.

Leetchi initially defended its hosting of the fundraising, saying that as a platform it was required to remain "neutral". But on Tuesday morning, it announced it had closed the fund "in light of the amount raised" after 7,801 pledges.

It was the latest round of weekly protests since mid-November, with another major demonstration called for Saturday.

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Both developments - coinciding with separate concerns over a police officer's unpunished ill-treatment of a protester in the southern port of Toulon - highlight the increasing ugliness of unrest that began over fuel prices but have widened to a revolt against Mr Macron's economic policies.

The French media has been targeted, while mock executions of Macron have also been a feature of some gatherings.

There were also women's demonstrations in Caen, northwestern France, and Montceau-les-Mines, central-eastern France.

But numerous protesters say the measures are not enough and that rural France is paying the price for Macron's policies, which they see as mainly profiting a wealthy Parisian elite.

Hundreds of women on Sunday marched in Paris to reclaim France's "yellow vest" movement from violent activists, a day after protesters smashed their way into a government ministry.

On Tuesday, under criticism for the 14,666-euro monthly salary she was reportedly receiving, she stepped down from that role - but would stay on to head the national committee overseeing the debate.

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner estimated that about 50,000 people participated in protests around France on Saturday.

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