65 injured, 140 arrested in Paris protests

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Police take position as they face demonstrators in Marseille, southern France, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, protesting against what they claim were dilapidated residential buildings that collapsed Monday Nov. 5, killing eight people.

Some demonstrators removed the barriers protecting the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I under the Arc de Triomphe monument, to pose near its eternal flame and sing the national anthem.

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.

More than 200 people were arrested and dozens were injured in Paris on Saturday after clashes erupted between police and protesters, according to a police spokesman.

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.

In Paris, police said they had arrested nearly 300 people while 110 were injured, including 20 members of the security forces.

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. He has vowed that those responsible for the violence and the damages will pay for their actions.

Yellow vests (Gilets jaunes) protest against rising oil prices and living costs on the Champs Elysees in Paris, France.

On Saturday (Dec 1), some targeted the Arc de Triomphe, chanting " Macron Resign" and scrawling on the facade of the towering 19th-century arch: "The yellow vests will triumph".

"Of all the things that happened, the arson attacks, the attacks on the police, the attacks on the shops in the Champs Elysees, it is the Arc de Triomphe and the graffiti that was pasted over it, that is the biggest offence, as far as the administration is concerned", he said.

Some 136,000 demonstrators, majority peaceful, were counted across the country on Saturday, the interior ministry said on Sunday.

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"What we need is something tangible, not just smoke and mirrors", said Yoann Allard, a 30-year-old farmhand.

Police said 23 police officers were among the injured and 378 of the arrested have been put in police custody.

Since the yellow jacket movement kicked off on November 17, two people have been killed and hundreds injured in accidents stemming from the protests.

Saturday's demonstrations were characterised by running battles between well-equipped security forces and groups of angry protesters.

Griveaux said that between 1,000 and 1,500 people joined Saturday's demonstrations "only to fight with the police, to break and loot". Riot police appear to get the protester in a choke hold before repeatedly battering him after he ins thrown to the ground in the video.

The "casseurs" (rioters) who smashed up parts of Paris were exploiting the "yellow vests" campaign for their own ends, he said.

Thousands of French police were deployed to try to contain the violence, which began Saturday morning near the Arc de Triomphe and continued well after dark.

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire on Monday said three weeks of protests have dealt a serious blow to the French economy with retailers, hotel chains, high-street stores and restaurants all seeing a significant fall in trade.

Three weeks of protests were sparked by plans to hike fuel prices and have grown into a movement expressing a general sense of discontent with President Macron's government.

Protesters smashed the windows of a newly opened flagship Apple Store and luxury boutiques of Chanel and Dior, where they daubed the slogan "Merry Mayhem" on a wooden board.

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