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TOPSHOT - Protesters hold a French flag near a burning barricade during a protest of Yellow vests (Gilets jaunes) against rising oil prices and living costs, on December 1, 2018 in Paris. (Photo by Abdulmonam EASSA / AFP) — AFP or licensors

Paris in pictures: Burned cars and graffiti littered monuments

People angry about rising taxes and high cost of living clashed with riot police who fired tear gas and water cannons.
Updated Dec 02, 2018 07:56pm

France's most violent urban riot in more than a decade engulfed some of central Paris on Saturday as "yellow jacket" activists torched cars, smashed windows, looted stores and tagged the Arc de Triomphe with multi-coloured graffiti.

Protesters angry about rising taxes and the high cost of living clashed with French riot police, who closed off some of the city's most popular tourist areas and fired tear gas and water cannons as they tried to quell the mayhem in the streets.

Paris police said 412 people were arrested on Saturday and 378 were still in custody. A total of 133 had been injured, including 23 members of the security forces who battled rioters for most of the day.

Parisians and business owners were inspecting the damage on Sunday.

Teams of cleaners were moving around, sweeping up glass, removing graffiti and the remains of barricades, and towing away burned out vehicles.

At the Concorde metro station at the entrance to the Tuileries garden, metal barriers, boards from a nearby building site and rubbish bins remained piled up.

Nearby, a section of the wrought-iron metal railings had been torn down around the gardens, which were built by French royals but opened to the public after the 1789 Revolution.

Shop owners around the Champs-Elysees, Opera and Place Vendome area, all popular tourist spots in the centre of the city, were inspecting damage to their properties.

Many shop windows had been shattered and revolutionary graffiti had been daubed on walls.

“Burn,” read one simple inscription. “Washed away by a revolutionary wave,” read another.

Slogans had also been scrawled on the Arc de Triomphe, a monument to the country's war dead that just a fortnight ago played host to world leaders who commemorated the end of the First World War there.

“The yellow vests will win,” said one slogan, a reference to he so-called “yellow vest” anti-government protest movement.

“Increase the RSA,” said another, referring to the RSA welfare payment for the unemployed.

In front of some the capital's most exclusive addresses around the Champs-Elysees area, the carcasses of burned out cars could be seen.

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner attributed the violence to “specialists in sowing conflict, specialists in destruction”.

Far-right groups and anarchists are thought to have been responsible for the violence during a day when 75,000 people demonstrated nation-wide, according to interior ministry figures.

A man throws a stone next to the broken windows of the Musee de l'Orangerie and a burning vehicle on the Tuileries Garden. —AFP
A man throws a stone next to the broken windows of the Musee de l'Orangerie and a burning vehicle on the Tuileries Garden. —AFP

A protester throws projectile at riot police. —AFP
A protester throws projectile at riot police. —AFP

Demonstrators clash with riot police at the Arc de Triomphe
Demonstrators clash with riot police at the Arc de Triomphe

Dozens of cars were set ablaze during clashes with riot police. —AFP
Dozens of cars were set ablaze during clashes with riot police. —AFP

A car burns on the sideline of a demonstration by Yellow vests (Gilets jaunes). —AFP
A car burns on the sideline of a demonstration by Yellow vests (Gilets jaunes). —AFP

Firemen at work to extinguish a burning car. —AFP
Firemen at work to extinguish a burning car. —AFP

A protester wearing a Guy Fawkes mask makes the victory sign near a burning barricade. —AFP
A protester wearing a Guy Fawkes mask makes the victory sign near a burning barricade. —AFP

French President Emmanuel Macron shakes hands with a firefighter during a visit in the streets of Paris. —AFP
French President Emmanuel Macron shakes hands with a firefighter during a visit in the streets of Paris. —AFP

Workers scrub clean the graffiti littered Arc de Triomphe in Paris. —AFP
Workers scrub clean the graffiti littered Arc de Triomphe in Paris. —AFP

Protestors damaged the front facade of many buildings. —AFP
Protestors damaged the front facade of many buildings. —AFP

A man looks at an inscription reading "Burn" and another "Washed away by a revolutionary wave". —AFP
A man looks at an inscription reading "Burn" and another "Washed away by a revolutionary wave". —AFP

French President Emmanuel Macron (2ndL) flanked by Interior Minister Christophe Castaner (2ndR), Paris police prefect Michel Delpuech (R) and French Junior Minister attached to the Interior Ministry Laurent Nunez (L) surveying the damage. —AFP
French President Emmanuel Macron (2ndL) flanked by Interior Minister Christophe Castaner (2ndR), Paris police prefect Michel Delpuech (R) and French Junior Minister attached to the Interior Ministry Laurent Nunez (L) surveying the damage. —AFP

The damaged gates of the Tuileries Gardens. —AFP
The damaged gates of the Tuileries Gardens. —AFP

Vehicles bore the brunt of the violence which injured at least 113. —AFP
Vehicles bore the brunt of the violence which injured at least 113. —AFP

Dozens of cars were left burning in the worst riot in a decade. —AFP
Dozens of cars were left burning in the worst riot in a decade. —AFP

Burned down cars and graffiti littered walls presented a sombre picture the following morning. —AFP
Burned down cars and graffiti littered walls presented a sombre picture the following morning. —AFP

Municipal employees clean the ground in front of the Arc of Triomphe covered with inscriptions.—AFP
Municipal employees clean the ground in front of the Arc of Triomphe covered with inscriptions.—AFP