France furious as Italy supports "yellow vest" protesters - Italianmedia

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As of Tuesday morning, over 7,000 people had pledged a total of 117,000 euros ($134,000) on the Leetchi, a French website used to raise funds for individuals and causes, to help pay legal costs for Dettinger, who remains in custody.

Numerous "yellow vest" demonstrators are demanding that centrist President Emmanuel Macron resign, a call dismissed as undemocratic by the government.

Equality Minister Marlene Schiappa told France Info radio the fundraiser was "illegal" because "it backs a criminal act, that is to say, gratuitous violence".

Police unions were outraged by the appeal fund. Benoit Barret, deputy leader of the Police Alliance Nationale, told the French television station BFMTV the fund was "a bonus for beating up a cop", adding to the humiliation of the two injured officers.

Christophe Dettinger turned himself in to police on Monday.

In a video posted on YouTube on Sunday, he described himself as an "ordinary citizen" acting out of anger over what he called the repressive tactics of the police.

Police were forced to retreat as Dettinger vaulted onto the bridge and repeatedly punched the officer despite the cop being fully clad in protective riot armor. The poll comes to light amid tensions over the so-called yellow vest movement, which has been protesting for eight consecutive Saturdays across the country calling for greater fiscal and social justice.

Both developments - coinciding with separate concerns over a police officer's unpunished ill-treatment of a protester in the southern port of Toulon - highlight the increasing ugliness of unrest that began over fuel prices but have widened to a revolt against Mr Macron's economic policies. "We need to keep fighting peacefully".

The demonstrations shaking France since mid-November had further dented Macron's standing at the end of past year, with his popularity dropping to record lows amid a backlash that started out as an outcry over planned fuel tax hikes. On the 5-Star Movement's blog, he indeed encouraged the "yellow vests" to continue their struggle.

He added that some yellow vest protesters believed that RT was the only "free media". "A little like your interior minister, Castaner, who said yesterday, '50,000 is just over one person per municipality in France, that's the reality of the Yellow Vest movement today, we can therefore see that the movement is not representative of France, '" Di Maio said.

The protest began as a grassroots French provincial movement with people donning high-visibility jackets, which by law must be carried by every vehicle in France.

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