Paris, Dec 1 : Violence erupted in Paris on Saturday as protesters and the police clashed during a third weekend of “yellow vest” demonstrations sparked by rising fuel prices.
Wearing yellow vests, the demonstrators, who also want to draw attention to the stark contrast between wealthy Paris and the rural areas, descended on the Champs Elysees where 5,000 police officers had been deployed.
Video footage showed tear gas clouds rose into the air above L’Arc de Triomphe and the Place de L’Etoile where clashes between the police and protesters broke out after a small group of “yellow vests” tried to break through security cordons.
Several officers had yellow paint thrown at them and at least 39 people were arrested over violence, according to the BBC. The police used stun grenades and water cannon to disperse the crowd, according to French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner.
Thousands of people have been taking to the streets in protest over the fuel costs and the high cost of living in France.
President Emmanuel Macron struck a conciliatory tone earlier in the week but said he would not abandon his fuel tax.
Castaner, who visited the scene, tweeted that there were “200 peaceful demonstrators” and “1,500 agitators outside the security perimeter who came to fight”. He put the number of arrests at 39.
The “Yellow Vests” protesters blocked highways in many regions, obstructed access to fuel depots, shopping centres and some factories for the third week, in a show of force to make Macron reconsider an increase on fuel tax that will be effective next month.