Paris Police Use Tear Gas on Protesters

Paris Police Use Tear Gas on Protesters

Paris police Prefect Michel Delpuech said some officers described encountering "unprecedented" violence, including protesters using hammers, gardening tools, bolts, aerosol cans as well as rocks in physical confrontations.

Police closed off some of the city's most popular tourist areas as they tried to quell the mayhem in the streets.

Mr Macron is holding an emergency meeting on security with his prime minister later today - and has warned that those responsible for the violence will pay for their actions.

The popular rebellion erupted out of nowhere on November 17 and has spread quickly via social media, with protesters blocking roads across France and impeding access to shopping malls, factories and some fuel depots.

Griveaux urged the yellow vest movement to disassociate itself from the radical groups that had instigated the violence, organize itself and come to the negotiating table.

Police fired tear gas to disperse protesters trying to tear down barricades on the Champs-Elysees in Paris on Saturday as hundreds converged on the city for new demonstrations, with anger over fuel taxes morphing into a wide-ranging anti-government movement.

Macron insists the fuel taxes are needed to reduce France's dependence on fossil fuels and to fund renewable energy investments.

The yellow vests get their name from the high-visibility jackets all motorists in France must carry in their vehicles.

France is considering imposing a state of emergency as hundreds of people were arrested during the country's worst riots in more than a decade.

At the height of Saturday's disturbances, some of Paris's renowned landmarks and upmarket areas - including the Trocadero, boulevards close to the Arc de Triomphe and the rue de Rivoli - were turned into battlegrounds.

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French riot police fought running battles with "yellow vest" protesters in the streets of Paris, in a third weekend of nationwide unrest against high living costs that pose one of the gravest challenges to Emmanuel Macron's presidency.

The Champs Elysees itself was on lockdown, its glittering Christmas decorations standing in stark contrast to boarded-up storefronts and throngs of riot police manning the barricades and water cannon. Hours later, cars still smoldered and law enforcement and protesters were still facing off elsewhere in the capital.

One person was in a critical condition after protesters pulled down one of the huge iron gates of the Tuileries garden by the Louvre, crushing several people.

"I am not confusing the rioters with citizens who want to convey a message", Macron previously said. "No cause justifies attacks on police or businesses, threats to passers-by or to journalists, or that the Arc de Triomphe be damaged". Still, the French leader said he wouldn't respond to questions about the violence during his press conference.

Demonstrators put up barricades in the surrounding areas, smashed some auto windows and set alight dozens of vehicles, including a police auto. Demonstrations were dubbed the "yellow vest" protests over the roadside safety vests worn by the protesters. They say 378 of the arrested have been put in police custody after the violence that tore apart parts of central Paris.

The main north-south motorway in eastern France, the A6, was also blocked by protesters near the city of Lyon on Sunday morning, its operator said.

Interior Minister Castaner was asked about the state of emergency, to which he replied "Nothing is taboo for me. I am prepared to examine everything".

Along the Champs-Elysees, which was cordoned off, peaceful protesters held up a slogan reading, "Macron, stop treating us like idiots!"

"The people are in revolt", she said.

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