Bear mascot is battered to ground during Yellow Vest rally

Riot police blast tear gas at Yellow Vest activists who return fire with catapults as violence rages into ninth week after thousands flood French capital in tax fury

  • Tear gas and baton charges were used by French police on thousands of Yellow Vest protestors  
  • The ugly scenes came on 9th Saturday in a row of violence that now routinely reduces Paris to a war zone
  • A panda mascot was battered to the ground and helped away by Yellow Vests as violence flared again 
  • Demonstrations were seen in other French cities and towns, as 80000 police and gendarmes were mobilised

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Tear gas and baton charges were used by French police on thousands of Yellow Vest protestors threatening the Arc de Triomphe in Paris today during more mass anti-government demonstrations.

The ugly scenes came on the 9th Saturday in a row of violence that now routinely reduces the capital city to a war zone. 

In Paris, epicentre of the fiery street clashes and vandalism that have made global headlines, 5,000 riot police were on hand, using tall barricades and armoured vehicles to lock down the central Place de la Concorde and surrounding districts.

Hundreds of officers were also on guard on the Champs-Elysees, where banks, jewellery stores and other shops had boarded up windows in anticipation of renewed looting and violence.

Yet many cafes and retailers on the iconic avenue remained open for business, as several thousands of protesters marched calmly from the Place de la Bastille toward the Arc de Triomphe early in the afternoon.

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French police detain a bloodied Yellow Vest (Gilets jaunes) protester during an anti-government demonstration in Marseille today

French police detain a bloodied Yellow Vest (Gilets jaunes) protester during an anti-government demonstration in Marseille today

A protester holds a burning flare next to a fire during an anti-government demonstration called by the 'Yellow Vest' (Gilets Jaunes) movement outside in front of the Cathedral of Brodeaux, southwestern France

A protester holds a burning flare next to a fire during an anti-government demonstration called by the ‘Yellow Vest’ (Gilets Jaunes) movement outside in front of the Cathedral of Brodeaux, southwestern France

Gendarmes spray water at yellow vested protesters in front of the Cathedral of Bordeaux in southwestern France this evening

Gendarmes spray water at yellow vested protesters in front of the Cathedral of Bordeaux in southwestern France this evening

Protesters break the window of a shop during an anti-government demonstration called by the Yellow Vest (Gilets jaunes) movement in Paris on January 12, 2019

Protesters break the window of a shop during an anti-government demonstration called by the Yellow Vest (Gilets jaunes) movement in Paris on January 12, 2019

Police arrest a protester during an anti-government demonstration called by the Gilets Jaunes movement on January 12, 2019, in the shopping area in Le Mans, western France

Police arrest a protester during an anti-government demonstration called by the Gilets Jaunes movement on January 12, 2019, in the shopping area in Le Mans, western France

French anti-riot police draw their weapons while colleagues detain a protester during renewed clashes in Paris today

French anti-riot police draw their weapons while colleagues detain a protester during renewed clashes in Paris today

French riot police take positions in the city center during a yellow vest demonstration in Marseille, southern France, Saturday, January 12, 2019

French riot police take positions in the city center during a yellow vest demonstration in Marseille, southern France, Saturday, January 12, 2019

Protesters from the 'Gilets Jaunes' (Yellow Vests) movement take part in the 'Act IX' demonstration (the 9th consecutive national protest on a Saturday)

Protesters from the ‘Gilets Jaunes’ (Yellow Vests) movement take part in the ‘Act IX’ demonstration (the 9th consecutive national protest on a Saturday)

Thousands of anti-government demonstrators marched in cities across France on January 12 in a new round of 'yellow vest' protests against the president, accused of ignoring the plight of millions of people struggling to make ends meet

Thousands of anti-government demonstrators marched in cities across France on January 12 in a new round of ‘yellow vest’ protests against the president, accused of ignoring the plight of millions of people struggling to make ends meet

In Paris, epicentre of the fiery street clashes and vandalism that have made global headlines, 5,000 riot police were on hand, using tall barricades and armoured vehicles to lock down the central Place de la Concorde and surrounding districts

In Paris, epicentre of the fiery street clashes and vandalism that have made global headlines, 5,000 riot police were on hand, using tall barricades and armoured vehicles to lock down the central Place de la Concorde and surrounding districts

Police stand near a fire near the Cathedral of Bordeaux, southwestern France, during an anti-government demonstration

Police stand near a fire near the Cathedral of Bordeaux, southwestern France, during an anti-government demonstration

Tear gas and baton charges were used by French police on thousands of Yellow Vest protestors threatening the Arc de Triomphe in Paris today during more mass anti-government demonstration. The ugly scenes came on the 9th Saturday in a row of violence that now routinely reduces the capital city to a war zone

There were 5000 police and gendarmes standing by for trouble, and it started in the early afternoon when a march reached the Champs Elysee, the most famous shopping avenue in France. Yellow Vest (Gilets jaunes) protesters are pictured waving flags reading RIC for ‘Citizens’ Initiative Referendum’

Within minutes huge white clouds of tear gas were smothering the area, covering rioters, as well as Saturday afternoon shoppers. By 3pm there had been 42 arrests in the Paris areas, many of them of suspected rioters carrying potential weapons

Within minutes huge white clouds of tear gas were smothering the area, covering rioters, as well as Saturday afternoon shoppers. By 3pm there had been 42 arrests in the Paris areas, many of them of suspected rioters carrying potential weapons

Scores of protesters later clashed with riot police after arriving at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, prompting volleys of tear gas and water cannon as security forces prevented them from reaching the Champs-Elysees

Scores of protesters later clashed with riot police after arriving at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, prompting volleys of tear gas and water cannon as security forces prevented them from reaching the Champs-Elysees

Yellow Vest (Gilets jaunes) protesters walk past the damaged window of a shop during an anti-government demonstration

Yellow Vest (Gilets jaunes) protesters walk past the damaged window of a shop during an anti-government demonstration

Nearly 60 people had been arrested in the capital, police said, alongside dozens more elsewhere including the central city of Bourges, the site of another major rally

Nearly 60 people had been arrested in the capital, police said, alongside dozens more elsewhere including the central city of Bourges, the site of another major rally

Dozens of banks, jewelry stores and other shops were boarded up on the Champs-Elysees and elsewhere across the city, which have taken a heavy toll on businesses. "We've come to Paris to make ourselves heard, and we wanted to see for ourselves at least once what's going on here," said Patrick, 37,

Dozens of banks, jewelry stores and other shops were boarded up on the Champs-Elysees and elsewhere across the city, which have taken a heavy toll on businesses. ‘We’ve come to Paris to make ourselves heard, and we wanted to see for ourselves at least once what’s going on here,’ said Patrick, 37,

Meanwhile, more than 1,000 yellow vest protesters, according to local authorities were marching in Bourges, a provincial capital with a renowned Gothic cathedral and picturesque wood-framed houses. Online groups mounted calls over the past week for actions in the town because of its location in the center of France

Meanwhile, more than 1,000 yellow vest protesters, according to local authorities were marching in Bourges, a provincial capital with a renowned Gothic cathedral and picturesque wood-framed houses. Online groups mounted calls over the past week for actions in the town because of its location in the center of France

Authorities deployed 80,000 security forces nationwide for the anti-government protests. Interior Minister Christophe Castaner threatened tough retaliation against rioters and their backers, warning of increasing radicalization among the largely peaceful demonstrators

Authorities deployed 80,000 security forces nationwide for the anti-government protests. Interior Minister Christophe Castaner threatened tough retaliation against rioters and their backers, warning of increasing radicalization among the largely peaceful demonstrators

The movement waned over the holidays but appears to be resurging, despite Macron's promises of billions of euros in tax relief and an upcoming "national debate" to address demonstrators' concerns. Protesters want deeper changes to France's economy and politics, seen as favoring the rich

The movement waned over the holidays but appears to be resurging, despite Macron’s promises of billions of euros in tax relief and an upcoming ‘national debate’ to address demonstrators’ concerns. Protesters want deeper changes to France’s economy and politics, seen as favoring the rich

French police take positions during a yellow vest protest in Marseille. Repeated scuffles broke out between French anti-government protesters and police near the Arc de Triomphe monument in Paris. Security forces used tear gas and a water cannon to push back some protesters who were throwing rocks and other objects at them

French police take positions during a yellow vest protest in Marseille. Repeated scuffles broke out between French anti-government protesters and police near the Arc de Triomphe monument in Paris. Security forces used tear gas and a water cannon to push back some protesters who were throwing rocks and other objects at them

Paris police say at least 53 people were arrested before and during the protest in the French capital. They have also arrested some protesters during scuffles near the Arc de Triomphe. Police armored vehicles have been set up near the monument to help prevent protesters from getting to the nearby Champs-Elysees

Paris police say at least 53 people were arrested before and during the protest in the French capital. They have also arrested some protesters during scuffles near the Arc de Triomphe. Police armored vehicles have been set up near the monument to help prevent protesters from getting to the nearby Champs-Elysees

Masked demonstrators stand amid smoke of teargas canisters launched by anti-riot police in a street heading to the Arena of Nimes in background during an anti-government demonstrations. The Vests have been joined by extremists from the far Right and the ultra-Left, as well as anarchists intent on causing as much damage as possible

Masked demonstrators stand amid smoke of teargas canisters launched by anti-riot police in a street heading to the Arena of Nimes in background during an anti-government demonstrations. The Vests have been joined by extremists from the far Right and the ultra-Left, as well as anarchists intent on causing as much damage as possible

A car ban was established on the famous avenue. Saturday's actions came on a ninth weekend of yellow vest demonstrations to denounce President Emmanuel Macron's economic policies that protesters consider as favoring the rich

A car ban was established on the famous avenue. Saturday’s actions came on a ninth weekend of yellow vest demonstrations to denounce President Emmanuel Macron’s economic policies that protesters consider as favoring the rich

The ugly scenes came on the 9th Saturday in a row of violence that now routinely reduces the capital city to a war zone, as on demonstrator clad in a Panda suit was battered to the ground and carried away in distress

The ugly scenes came on the 9th Saturday in a row of violence that now routinely reduces the capital city to a war zone, as on demonstrator clad in a Panda suit was battered to the ground and carried away in distress

An injured protester from the 'Gilets Jaunes' (Yellow Vests) is seen on Place de l'Etoile, near the Arc de Triomphe

An injured protester from the ‘Gilets Jaunes’ (Yellow Vests) is seen on Place de l’Etoile, near the Arc de Triomphe

A French police officer holds a non-lethal hand-held weapon (LBD40) as large parts of the Champs had been blocked off using armoured cares and water cannons, but the Yellow Vests - who are named after their high visibility motoring jackets - still appeared in large numbers

A French police officer holds a non-lethal hand-held weapon (LBD40) as large parts of the Champs had been blocked off using armoured cares and water cannons, but the Yellow Vests – who are named after their high visibility motoring jackets – still appeared in large numbers

The Vests have been protesting since November 17 and, despite a range of concessions by President Macron including scrapping green taxes of diesel and petrol, continue to call for him to step down. High-end shops including luxury fashion boutiques were boarded up in Paris, along with banks and post offices

The Vests have been protesting since November 17 and, despite a range of concessions by President Macron including scrapping green taxes of diesel and petrol, continue to call for him to step down. High-end shops including luxury fashion boutiques were boarded up in Paris, along with banks and post offices

‘Macron Resign’, the crowd chanted, as they called for President Emmanuel Macron to resign, throwing bottles and any other missiles they could find.

Within minutes huge white clouds of tear gas were smothering the area, covering rioters, as well as Saturday afternoon shoppers.

By 3pm there had been 42 arrests in the Paris areas, many of them of suspected rioters carrying potential weapons.

Large parts of the Champs had been blocked off using armoured cares and water cannons, but the Yellow Vests – who are named after their high visibility motoring jackets – still appeared in large numbers.

There were similar demonstrations other French cities and towns, as 80000 police and gendarmes were mobilised nationwide. Yellow vest protesters demonstrate peacefully in downtown Marseille, southern France

There were similar demonstrations other French cities and towns, as 80000 police and gendarmes were mobilised nationwide. Yellow vest protesters demonstrate peacefully in downtown Marseille, southern France

Masked demonstrators gesture amid smoke of teargas canisters launched by anti-riot police in a street heading to the Arena of Nimes

Masked demonstrators gesture amid smoke of teargas canisters launched by anti-riot police in a street heading to the Arena of Nimes

By 3pm there had been 42 arrests in the Paris areas, many of them of suspected rioters carrying potential weapons. Large parts of the Champs had been blocked off using armoured cares and water cannons, but the Yellow Vests - who are named after their high visibility motoring jackets - still appeared in large numbers

By 3pm there had been 42 arrests in the Paris areas, many of them of suspected rioters carrying potential weapons. Large parts of the Champs had been blocked off using armoured cares and water cannons, but the Yellow Vests – who are named after their high visibility motoring jackets – still appeared in large numbers

The independent Mr Macron, leader of the Republic On The Move party, won the French presidential election in a landslide in 2017, but he is now dubbed the 'President of the Rich' with polls showing his popularity rating down to just 18 per cent

The independent Mr Macron, leader of the Republic On The Move party, won the French presidential election in a landslide in 2017, but he is now dubbed the ‘President of the Rich’ with polls showing his popularity rating down to just 18 per cent

The world famous Arc de Triomphe was severely vandalised and had graffiti sprayed all over it in December, causing a national outcry.

Mr Macron has since pledged that any attempt to damage it will be treated with the ‘most severe action possible.’

There were similar demonstrations other French cities and towns, as 80000 police and gendarmes were mobilised nationwide.

The Vests have been protesting since November 17 and, despite a range of concessions by President Macron including scrapping green taxes of diesel and petrol, continue to call for him to step down.

High-end shops including luxury fashion boutiques were boarded up in Paris, along with banks and post offices.

The Vests have been joined by extremists from the far Right and the ultra-Left, as well as anarchists intent on causing as much damage as possible.

Crisis-ridden Mr Macron has not only climbed down on imposing green surcharges, but increased the national minimum wage by seven per sent, and scrapped tax on bonuses.

But the Yellow Vests said their protests would continue indefinitely as they campaign for even more concessions.

The independent Mr Macron, leader of the Republic On The Move party, won the French presidential election in a landslide in 2017, but he is now dubbed the ‘President of the Rich’ with polls showing his popularity rating down to just 18 per cent.

 

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