The worst violence took place on the Champs Elysee where a huge crowd called for President Emmanuel Macron to quit
HUNDREDS of protesters filled the streets of Paris as they clashed with police during marches against rising fuel prices.
Water cannons and rounds of teargas were used by riot cops against thousands of French “Yellow Vest” fuel protesters today as the Champs Elysee was reduced to a battlefield.
The worst violence took place on the most famous avenue in the city where a huge crowd called for President Emmanuel Macron to resign.
The unrest has erupted over spiking fuel prices in the country and is pilling pressure on the government.
A police officer at the scene said: “They included hooded demonstrators who were determined to cause trouble.
“We’ve been forced to deploy a water cannon and use tear gas to stop them getting to a secure zone.
“They’re breaking up traffic obstacles to create missiles to throw at us. It’s getting very violent.”
The zone included the Elysee Palace – Mr Macron’s official home – and the Place de la Concorde, opposite the National Assembly, France’s parliament.
The Yellow Vests – gilets jaunes in French – are named after the high visibility jackets they wear.
They have been conducting a grassroots campaign against escalating petrol and diesel prices.
Senior French ministers have slammed the ‘radicalisation’ and ‘anarchy’ involved, claiming far-Right and hard-Left elements have hijacked the protests.
Two road deaths have been linked with the protests so far – both at illegal road blocks set up by the Yellow Vests.
There have also been 553 woundings, 17 of them serious.
More than 95 police have been hurt in a variety of disturbances, including an attempt to storm the Elysee Palace last weekend.
Clashes broke out between crowds and police on the Champs Élysées in the second weekend of demonstrations
Police have used teargas and water cannon against fuel tax protesters in Parisafter violent clashes erupted on the Champs Élysées.
Thousands of demonstrators from all over France massed on the famous boulevard on Saturday to express their anger at the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and his government. But what was supposed to be a peaceful protest by the gilets jaunes (yellow jackets) movement degenerated rapidly.
On one side, protesters reportedly infiltrated by far-right extremists and casseurs (rioters and hooligans) tore up paving stones and hurled them and other missiles at police before building barricades that they set alight. On the other, police used teargas, pepper spray, water cannon and bulldozers to clear the road.
Each time the police advanced, protesters rebuilt the barricades, using metal barriers from roadworks and construction sites, rubbish bins and anything else they could find. Many gilets jaunes attempted to withdraw as violence erupted, but were hampered by advancing police. Others retreated, but vowed to remain at the protest. “We were here as pacifists and we were gassed. But we will stay here all day because Macron has to listen,” said one man, who gave his name as Jacques.
Paris (AFP) – Anti-government protesters clashed with French police on the Champs-Elysees in Paris on Saturday, leaving the area cloaked in tear gas and smoke from fires on a fresh day of demonstrations against President Emmanuel Macron.
Demonstrators wearing the yellow, high-visibility vests that symbolise their movement threw projectiles at police preventing them from moving along the famed shopping avenue, which was decked out in twinkling Christmas lights.
They also built barricades in some spots, and tore down traffic lights and street signs, creating riotous scenes reminiscent of France’s 1968 civil unrest, or street insurrections in the mid-19th century immortalised in paintings and movies.
Police arrested 130 people, 69 of those in Paris, and 24 people were injured, five of them police officers including one who suffered burns to his groin, the city police department and Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said.
Elsewhere, protesters took over highway toll booths to let traffic pass for free, or held go-slow vehicle processions, underlining one of their core complaints of escalating taxes on car fuel, especially diesel.
Macron, targeted by protesters’ calls that he resign, took to Twitter to thank police.