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Anti-Semitism probe launched after comments made at yellow vest protest in Paris

People run away from a burning car during clashes, in Marseille, southern France. Picture by AP Photo/Claude Paris
Associated Press Reporter

PARIS authorities have opened an investigation into anti-Semitic remarks hurled at a noted philosopher during a yellow vest protest in the capital.

The incident has helped to raise national concerns about the yellow vest movement's ascendant radical fringe.

The Paris prosecutor's office said an investigation was launched into "public insult based on origin, ethnicity, nationality, race or religion".

A few demonstrators targeted philosopher Alain Finkielkraut with insults on the sidelines of a yellow vest protest through Paris on Saturday. The shocking incident prompted criticism from French President Emmanuel Macron and other prominent figures.

Meanwhile, yellow vest demonstrators called for multiple rallies around Paris and some other French cities on Sunday, including a march expected to start at the Arc de Triomphe.

The increasingly divided movement has held protests every Saturday since November 17, but some groups are holding rallies today to celebrate the movement's three-month birthday.

An online invitation to Sunday's main Paris march says "Let's stay peaceful".

Police fired tear gas and brought in water cannons and a horse brigade to disperse yellow vest protesters in Paris on Saturday.

The movement, which began as protests against a fuel tax hike, has broadened to include a range of concerns about France's living standards and the economic stresses facing ordinary families.

Its name comes from the fluorescent yellow vests that French motorists must keep in their cars for emergencies.

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