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France investigates after older protester is injured in Nice

Police officers stand by a yellow vest protester who collapsed on the ground during a protest in Nice, southeastern France, Saturday, March 23, 2019. The French government vowed to strengthen security as yellow vest protesters stage a 19th round of demonstrations, following last week's riots in Paris. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)

NICE, France (AP) — French authorities are investigating the case of an older female protester who suffered head injuries when police charged people defying a ban on yellow vest protests in Nice.

The woman was waving a rainbow flag marked “Peace” and holding a yellow vest when riot police carrying shields suddenly pushed toward the protesters Saturday. An Associated Press reporter saw her fall to the pavement, blood spilling from her head.

A city official identified her as 73-year-old anti-globalization activist Genevieve Legay.

The official said Sunday that she is in intensive care, and cited the Nice prosecutor as saying an investigation was opened. The official was not authorized to be publicly named.

French authorities banned protests in several areas Saturday to prevent a repeat of that rioting that scarred Paris a week ago at yellow vest protests. Nice was under extra security because the city was preparing for the arrival of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The 4-month-old movement drew bigger crowds Saturday than in recent weeks, despite heavy security and even though last weekend’s violence dented overall support for the cause. The protesters want more help for struggling French workers and retirees and say President Emmanuel Macron favors the elite.

A police officer at the Paris protest suffered a heart problem, slumping to the ground before being hospitalized. Associated Press journalists at the scene saw no violence or incidents nearby when he collapsed.

At least 2,000 people have been injured in protest violence since the yellow vest movement began in November, and 11 people have been killed in protest-related road accidents.

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Charlton reported from Paris.

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