But instead of abating, the turmoil has been increasing in recent days. And now the French government has responded with its own large demonstration of force.
The protests began last month after the government announced increases in taxes on gasoline. This has increased the cost of living as all consumer goods have gone up in price due to higher fuel costs throughout the country.
The unrest has been going on for so long, and has been at such a large scale, that it is seen now as a direct rebuke of French President Emmanuel Macron and his government policies.
In effect, the people of France are rejecting Macron’s attempts to boost France’s economy which has been struggling for quite some time.
A poll was published last week showing that eight in ten people in France support the protests. And now, with police taking over Paris, Macron’s popularity is sure to suffer even more.
The capital was mostly deserted on Saturday morning, and riot police were seen on street corners throughout the city.
Hundreds of people were already in custody, French authorities said, and police had fired tear gas at protesters.
They said they planned to place over 8,000 police officers across Paris on Saturday.
The city’s museums and galleries, including the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower, will not open for the expected large influx of holiday season tourists. Soccer matches have also been called off across the country.
As Parisians said they supported the grievances of the demonstrators.
“There is great anger in France at the moment,” said one person interviewed. “The president has too many reforms and he is going about them too quickly without asking anyone.”
A November poll found that only 26 percent of French people have a favorable opinion of their president.
The findings mean Macron is now less popular than his predecessors who were forced to leave office due to scandal.
Many protesters accused Macron of not listening to the people. “The government should do more, it should have reacted better,” said one young worker.
“The politicians are afraid because they don’t know how to stop it,” said another. “It’s not one organization, it’s the people.”
The fact that Macron has been out of sight since last weekend’s demonstrations has further angered those who want change.
“He’s not saying anything and the country’s on fire,” said Meredith Saban, 38, a director of a human resources firm. “He’s mocking the people.”