80 injured as yellow vest protests in France enter a third weekend

80 injured as yellow vest protests in France enter a third weekend

According to interior ministry figures, 3,000 people took part in the action on Saturday in Paris, where police made 412 arrests and used over 10,000 tear gas canisters and stun grenades in an attempt to defuse protesters.

Protesters have scaled the Arc de Triomphe in central Paris, as clashes with riot police continue during a third weekend of "yellow vest" rallies.

French President Emmanuel Macron asked for an evaluation of possible protest security measures Sunday, a day after a Paris demonstration against increased taxes and living costs devolved into France's worst urban riot in a decade.

The president earlier assessed the damage at the Arc de Triomphe, the massive monument to France's war dead at the top of the famous Champs Elysees avenue, where rioters scrawled graffiti and ransacked the ticketing and reception areas.

A French protest against rising taxes and the high cost of living turned into a riot Saturday in Paris as police fired tear gas and water cannon in street battles with activists wearing the fluorescent yellow vests of a new movement.

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.

Protesters, including some wearing black hoods, piled up large plywood planks and other material in the middle of a street near the Arc de Triomphe, and set the debris ablaze.

While there have already been reports of the rioting continuing in Paris on Sunday morning, the details of Saturday's events are still being tallied, with over 190 fires reported across the city.

Jacline Mouraud, one of the protest movement's prime instigators over social media forums, told AFP that scrapping the fuel tax was a "prerequisite for any discussion" with the government.

"It is out of the question that each weekend becomes a meeting or ritual for violence", government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux said.

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Dozens of cars were torched by the gangs of rioters, some of whom wore gas masks and ski goggles to lessen the effects of tear gas which was sacked continually by police. Protesters have blocked roads across France and impeded access to shopping malls, factories and some fuel depots. There he met with firefighters, police officers and restaurant owners.

In the town of Narbonne almost 800 people demonstrated, with a group of them attacking the official buildings belonging to local authorities, according to reports.

Perhaps the best expression of the anger and frustration in the country could be seen at the Arc de Triomphe, which was defaced with graffiti reading messages including "Macron resign", "Overthrow the bourgeoisie!" and "Yellow Vests will triumph".

France's interior ministry says about 136,000 people took part in the protests nationwide, showing widespread support for the movement known as the "gilets jaunes" (yellow vests).

France's President Emmanuel Macron, gestures as he delivers his final press conference on the second day of the G20 Leader's Summit, in Buenos Aires, on December 01, 2018.

News agency AFP correspondents who talked to demonstrators and observed Saturday's violence found that they did not all come from the same mould.

Twenty cars, including three police vehicles, were also torched near Narbonne in the southwest, the official said.

Some peaceful protesters held up a slogan reading, "Macron, stop treating us like idiots!" "I will always respect debate and I will always listen to the opposition but I will never accept violence", Macron said.

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

"We want our dignity back and we want to be able to live from our work, which is absolutely not the case today", Jason Herbert said after walking out of talks with Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on Friday.

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