France to consider imposing state of emergency following mass riots in Paris

Paris fuel protests: Dozens arrested as 'yellow vest' demonstrations turn violent

Paris fuel protests: Dozens arrested as 'yellow vest' demonstrations turn violent

Last weekend was the third in a row of anti-government protests in France, as clashes in Paris between as many as 8,000 protesters and 5,000 police officers wielding tear gas, stun grenades and water cannons resulted in one death, at least 133 injuries and over 400 arrests.

France is considering introducing a state of emergency after Saturday's riots in Paris and demonstrations across the country in protest over fuel prices rises and the cost of living.

The violence broke out early after crowds began gathering at the Arc de Triomphe, where they found the Champs Elysees on lockdown by police manning barricades and water cannons.

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

The violent protests and vandalism in Paris have "absolutely nothing to do with the peaceful demonstrations of a legitimate unhappiness or discontent", Macron said on Saturday at a news conference in Buenos Aires, where he was attending the G20 summit.

A motorist died overnight after colliding with traffic which had built up due to a "yellow vest" anti-government protest in southern France, a local prosecutor said Sunday.

One of the most striking images of the destruction shows a smashed statue of Marianne inside the Arc de Triomphe.

Hours later, some cars still smoldered and law enforcement and protesters were still facing off elsewhere in the capital.

French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner attributed the violence to "specialists in inciting conflict and destruction".

Paris fuel protests: Dozens arrested as 'yellow vest' demonstrations turn violent

He was questioned why thousands of French police couldn't prevent the damage, especially to the nation's Arc de Triomphe monument. Although a few blamed provocatively heavy-handed policing, it was clear they had been joined by masked activists prepared for trouble.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said in a post on Twitter she was "indignant" about the violence, and said "our country is faced with a profound crisis which can only be resolved by dialogue".

For more than two weeks, the "yellow vests" have blocked roads across France in a spontaneous, popular rebellion against diesel tax hikes and the high cost of living. Parts of central Paris that should have been packed with tourists and Christmas shoppers resembled battle zones, as smoke and tear gas hung in the air and debris littered the ground.

Protesters damaged some of the sculpture on the arch and others spray painted "Yellow Jackets Will Triumph", a reference to the name of the loosely organized group behind the protests. Over 20 Paris metro stations were closed on Saturday evening for security reasons, the Paris public transport company RATP said.

But further down on the Champs-Elysees, several hundred people marched calmly behind a huge yellow-and-red banner reading "Macron, stop taking us for idiots!".

Undeterred by strictly controlled access to the Champs-Elysees, the scene of serious rioting at a protest a week earlier, mobs dispersed to other central areas, often unprotected.

According to The New York Times demonstrators say the French government "talks about the end of the world while we are talking about the end of the month".

"The violence is increasing at an exponential rate", said Claude, a resident in the affluent 16th district. "I came peacefully, but even I'm ready to fight given how I've seen the riot police behave", said Claude Metayer, a 67-year-old retired army commander, who came to Paris from Pau in the country's southwest with his 62-year-old wife Eve, a retired teacher. "The state is asking us to tighten our belts, but they, on the contrary, live totally above all standards with our money".

So far, at least two people have been killed and 890 people, including 158 security forces, injured, 1,081 detained, and nine protesters sentenced to four months in jail during the ongoing demonstrations since November 17.

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