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Low turnout for 'festive blockade' of Paris Airport

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Low turnout for 'festive blockade' of Paris Airport
One of the movement's leading figures Jerome Rodriguez (C) attends a demonstration on May 4, 2019 in Chambery. Photo: Jean-Pierre Clatot/AFP
14:20 CEST+02:00
Only about 20 'yellow vest' protesters turned up at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport for the group's planned 'festive blockade' on Saturday, in a subdued 'Act 25' for the movement.
The protesters carried signs saying 'Mum, I'm going to miss my plane', and handed out leaflets attacking proposals to privatise the airport's owner ADP.  But a heavy police presence ensured they caused little real disruption to passengers. 
 
According to a reporter for the rolling news channel BMF TV, the demonstrators had picked the international terminal meaning most of the travellers they accosted were foreigners with little knowledge or interest in the French government's privatisation plans. 
 
After a busy day of protests on Labour Day (May 1), this weekend to return to the lower levels seen in the second half of April, with France's Interior Ministry reporting that 18,900 people demonstrated across France, 1,460 of them in Paris -- well even down on the count for the previous weekend, when they said 23,600 turned up across the country.
   
The yellow vest organisers, who regularly dismiss the accuracy of the official count, put the turnout across France on Saturday at 40,291.
 
About 300,000 people took part in the first protests on November 17th. 
 
The day's marches were relatively calm, with only a handful of arrests and eight people detained in Paris.
   
In the southwest city of Bordeaux, where support for the movement has been strong, 61-year-old teaching assistant Jose acknowledged that the movement was running out of steam a little.
   
"That's 25 weeks that we have put our life on hold for a bit to at least get back a minimum of dignity," he said.
 
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French police had given permission for three marches in central Paris, the largest of which started at Lariboisière Hospital, near Paris Gare du Nord, at 11.30am before marching towards La Place de la Nation. A second toured TV and Radio stations, while a third started at the Jardin des Plantes in the early afternoon. 
 
Video footage of the first march, which numbered a few thousand people, showed protestors applauding firemen stationed on their route.
 
There were also demonstrations in regional cities such as Marseilles, Lyon, Bordeaux and Chambéry.
 
In Chambéry about 1,000 protesters were joined by Jerome Rodriguez, the Paris-based 'yellow vest' leader who was blinded in one eye after being hit by a plastic bullet in January. 
 
In the northwestern city of Metz, meanwhile, yellow vest protesters and ecologists joined forces in a march  ahead of a meeting there of G7 environment ministers on Sunday and Monday.
   
Police said 3,000 people turned out for the march, while the organisers -- an alliance of around 40 environmental and grass-roots groups -- put the figure at between 4,500 and 5,000.
 
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