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Yellow vest protester's hand ripped apart in Paris in 13th week of unrest

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 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.

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 this week's protest was significantly smaller than last week's. 

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Riot police run past burning dustbins set on fire by yellow vest protesters in Paris, France, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019. Kamil Zihnioglu/AP

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

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. The movement, however, 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.