The centre of Paris was on lockdown tonight after masked protesters stole an assault rifle from police, clashed with riot squads and set fire to cars and Christmas trees on the Champs-Elysees in furious demonstrations against the French government.
Protesters said today’s actions were ‘the start of a revolution’ that would eclipse the mass strikes and occupation of universities and factories in1968 when the country was on the cusp of civil war.
Fires and clouds of tear gas covered the French capital from early morning until late in the evening, in some of the worst violence ever seen in the French capital as more than 5,000 demonstrators brought chaos to Paris for the second week running.
As so-called Yellow Vest fuel price demonstrators marched along the opulent Avenue Foch near the Arc de Triomphe, home to embassies and luxury residences, they were joined by criminal groups included looters.
French President Emmanuel Macron has promised the protesters will be ‘held responsible for their acts’.
Macron said today’s demonstrations which have left dozens injured and hundreds arrested ‘have nothing to do with the peaceful expression of a legitimate anger.’ He said ‘no cause justifies attacks on police or pillaging stores and burning buildings’.