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Yellow vest protester loses fingers in Paris clash with police

Police said the injured protester lost four fingers as police swooped in to stop protesters from breaching the parliament's exterior. Police could not confirm French media reports that the demonstrator's hand was blown up by a grenade used to disperse unruly crowds.

Police used batons, fired tear gas as demonstrators advanced on National Assembly

Riot police run past burning dustbins set on fire by yellow vest protesters in Paris on Saturday. (Kamil Zihnioglu/Associated Press)

A French yellow vest protester's hand was ripped apart Saturday during violent clashes in Paris as demonstrators tried to storm the French National Assembly in a 13th consecutive week of unrest.

Police said the injured protester lost four fingers as police swooped in to stop protesters from breaching the parliament's exterior. Police could not confirm French media reports that the demonstrator's hand was blown up by a grenade used to disperse unruly crowds.

As scuffles broke out in front of the National Assembly and French police responded with tear gas, paramedics huddled around the injured protester at the National Assembly gates, providing emergency treatment and stopping bystanders from getting too close.

Police used batons and fired tear gas in Paris to disperse demonstrators, some of whom threw debris at riot police hunkered down.

Fire department spokesperson Gildas Lecoeur told The Associated Press that the injured man was taken to a hospital, but he couldn't confirm his current condition.

A car, motorbikes and multiple trash bins were set ablaze as the protest moved toward the city's Invalides monument, but France's Interior Ministry said the one this week was significantly smaller than last week's.

Police said 17 demonstrators had been arrested as scuffles broke out between protesters and police near the Champs-Élysées Avenue and the National Assembly. The protest march is due to end up near the Eiffel Tower.

Yellow vest protesters walks towards a burning makeshift barricade during scuffles with riot police in Paris on Saturday. (Kamil Zihnioglu/Associated Press)

The yellow vest activists, who have brought hundreds of thousands onto the streets over the past three months, are now trying to achieve electoral success, but the movement is politically divided and has no appointed leader.

French President Emmanuel Macron — the target of many demonstrators' anger — seems to be clawing back support from the public as he tries to address the movement's anger with a national political debate on economic injustice. Recent polls show Macron's approval ratings are rising.

Earlier Saturday, activists in Latvia staged a picket in front of the French Embassy in Riga, the capital of the small Baltic EU country, to support the yellow vest movement and urge Latvians to demand higher living standards.

The activists waved Latvia's red-and-white flag, shouting slogans like "the French have awoken, while Latvians remain asleep."