Violence has exploded again in Paris this morning as riot police clashed with masked protesters on the Champs-Elysees amid furious protests against the cost of living in France.
As ‘Yellow Vest’ supporters gathered on the avenue riot police sprayed tear gas, fired water cannon and stun grenades and pulled out their batons to fight back protesters gathering around the Arc de Triomphe.
In Paris, masked and hooded protesters picked up and hurled crowd barriers and other projectiles in running battles with police on and around the famous boulevard.
Identity checkpoints and police barricades have been set up on the road in an effort to avoid rioting on the historic avenue.
Some 5,000 police and gendarmes will be deployed today a week after the protesters brought chaos to the French capital, smashing up shops and restaurants, lighting fires, and battling riot squads.
One of the ‘yellow vest’ protesters, wearing one of the ‘gilets jaunes’ after which the movement is named, waves a French flag by the Arc de Triomphe on Saturday morning
Riot police officers spray tear gas against demonstrators during Saturday’s protest which follows rioting last weekend
Masked protesters wearing yellow vests run from tear gas during the demonstration today. It comes a week after riots which President Macron likened to ‘war scenes’
The Yellow Vest protesters gather metal objects to make into barricades during Saturday’s protests in Paris
Tear gas floats in the air as protesters wearing yellow vests, a symbol of a French drivers’ protest against higher diesel taxes, demonstrate in Paris
A topless demonstrator watches as riot police fire water cannon amid fresh violence in the centre of the French capital today
Demonstrators throw metal barriers during the protest today next to the Arc de Triomphe in a movement which has spiralled into a rebellion against Emmanuel Macron’s government
Police said 81 people had been arrested amid concerns that violent far-right and far-left groups were infiltrating the spontaneous protests over living costs.
The Yellow Vest movement erupted last month in a rebellion against fuel taxes which has grown into a wider challenge to Emmanuel Macron’s presidency.
By mid-morning, police estimated some 2,000 protesters were in the roads around the Champs and some 31,000 protesters assembled across France.
Three policemen and seven protesters were injured as demonstrators erected their own barricades and set them alight in some of the streets adjacent to the Champs Elysees.
Several hundred of them sat down under the Arc de Triomphe at the top of the Elysees, singing La Marseillaise, France’s national anthem, and chanting, ‘Macron Resign!’
On the facade of the towering 19th-century arch, protesters scrawled in big black letters: ‘The yellow vests will triumph.’
Riot police were covered in bright yellow paint thrown by the Yellow Vests s the violence intensified and the area around the Arc de Triomphe was turned into a battleground.
Christophe Castener, France’s Interior Minister, said there would be identity checks and bag searches for all pedestrians in the area.
Riot police watch on as the Yellow Vest protesters stand under the Arc de Triomphe in the centre of Paris. The message on the wall reads: ‘The Yellow Vests will triumph’
Protesters make a barricade out of bins and wood as they block a road in the centre of Paris during today’s protests
Demonstrators hod a banner reading ‘People in dire straits, let’s kill the bourgeois’ during a protest in the centre of Paris on Saturday morning
Demonstrators block truck son the motorway in Biarritz as the protests over living costs pspread out across France today
A demonstrator kicks back a tear gas canister towards riot police. Some 5,000 police and gendarmes are expected to be out in force in Paris today
Ahead of Saturday’s protests, workmen erected metal barriers and plywood boards on the glass-fronted facades of restaurants and boutiques lining the Champs Elysees, which was closed to traffic
President Macron, who is in Argentina for the G20 summit, likened last week’s burning barricades and rampant vandalism to ‘war scenes’ in Paris.
In last week’s violence the Dior Store was among those looted, with the designer fashion business losing up to £1million worth of stock. Police responded with water cannon and round upon round of tear gas in an effort to quell the violence.
The movement, organised through social media, has steadfastly refused to align with any political party or trade union.
It is named after the high-visibility jackets which motorists are required to carry in their cars.
The ‘yellow vests’ include many pensioners and has been most active in small urban and rural areas where it has blocked roads, closed motorway toll booths, and even walled up the entrance to tax offices.
Protesters wearing yellow vests (gilets jaunes) evacuate a protester injured by a water cannon during today’s protests
Riot police officers hold up their shields and stand in position during clashes with demonstrators in Paris on Saturday
Riot police officers are covered with painting during clashes with demonstrators as part of a protest against rising fuel prices which has grown into a wider rebellion
Tear gas floats in the air as protesters wearing yellow vests, a symbol of a French drivers’ to protest against higher diesel taxes, demonstrate in Paris on Saturday
Demonstrators hold French flags as they block trucks on the motorway in Biarritz, southwestern France, as the protests spiralled out of Paris and across the country
Protesters wearing masks, helmets and the movement’s signature yellow vests wave a Tricolore flag in front of the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs-Elysees
The immediate trigger for the protest wave was Macron’s decision to raise tax on diesel fuel in a move to encourage the driving of less-polluting cars.
The government has tried to hold a dialogue but the protesters have been unwilling to appoint leaders.
Macron has sought to douse the anger by promising three months of nationwide talks on turning France into a low-carbon economy without penalising the poor.
He also vowed to slow the rate of increase in fuel taxes if international oil prices rise too rapidly but only after a tax hike due in January.
On Friday, the government tried – mostly in vain – to talk to representatives of the movement.
Eight were invited to meet Prime Minister Edouard Philippe but only two turned up, and one walked out after being told he could not invite TV cameras in to broadcast the encounter live to the nation.
The protests have caught Macron off guard just as he was trying to counter a fall in his popularity rating to 30 per cent.
His unyielding response has exposed him to charges of being out of touch with ordinary people.
A demonstrator waves a French national flag by the Arc de Triomphe, at the end of the Champs-Elysees which is bracing for fresh protests today
Riot police clash with demonstrators on the Champs-Elysees on Saturday in the latest wave of protests
Tear gas floats in the air as police secure an area near protesters wearing yellow vests today