Paris riot police blast water cannon at demonstrators protesting Macron’s fuel tax rise 

Huge plumes of smoke were seen on one of France’s most iconic streets today, as protestors burned large plywood sheets and other material in demonstration against planned fuel hikes.

A water cannon and rounds of teargas were also used by riot police against thousands of French ‘Yellow Vest’ fuel protestors in Paris today as the Champs Elysee was reduced to a battlefield.

The worst violence took place on the most famous avenue in the city where a huge crowd called for President Emmanuel Macron to resign.

‘They included hooded demonstrators who were determined to cause trouble,’ said a police officer at the scene.

‘We’ve been forced to deploy a water cannon and used tear gas to stop them getting to a secure zone.

‘They’re breaking up traffic obstacles to create missiles to throw at us. It’s getting very violent.’

Violent clashes between police and protesters are ongoing in the French capital, with demonstrators angry about rising fuel taxes and President Emmanuel Macron's government. Protesters burned large plywood sheets and other material in the middle of several streets in central Paris, sending up large columns of smoke. Demonstrators also hurled rocks and other projectiles at police, who responded by firing tear gas and bursts from water cannons

Violent clashes between police and protesters are ongoing in the French capital, with demonstrators angry about rising fuel taxes and President Emmanuel Macron's government. Protesters burned large plywood sheets and other material in the middle of several streets in central Paris, sending up large columns of smoke. Demonstrators also hurled rocks and other projectiles at police, who responded by firing tear gas and bursts from water cannons

Violent clashes between police and protesters are ongoing in the French capital, with demonstrators angry about rising fuel taxes and President Emmanuel Macron’s government. Protesters burned large plywood sheets and other material in the middle of several streets in central Paris, sending up large columns of smoke. Demonstrators also hurled rocks and other projectiles at police, who responded by firing tear gas and bursts from water cannons

Police tried to push back the protesters, at times beating back demonstrators with baton strikes and dragging them away

Police tried to push back the protesters, at times beating back demonstrators with baton strikes and dragging them away

Police tried to push back the protesters, at times beating back demonstrators with baton strikes and dragging them away

Protestors and police are seen clashing on the Champs Elysee as part of a nationwide protest in Paris against higher fuel prices. The Yellow Vests – gilets jaunes in French – are named after the high visibility jackets that they wear, and are conducting a grassroots campaign against escalating petrol and diesel prices

Protestors and police are seen clashing on the Champs Elysee as part of a nationwide protest in Paris against higher fuel prices. The Yellow Vests – gilets jaunes in French – are named after the high visibility jackets that they wear, and are conducting a grassroots campaign against escalating petrol and diesel prices

Protestors and police are seen clashing on the Champs Elysee as part of a nationwide protest in Paris against higher fuel prices. The Yellow Vests – gilets jaunes in French – are named after the high visibility jackets that they wear, and are conducting a grassroots campaign against escalating petrol and diesel prices

Some 3000 police were on the streets of central Paris today, where the protestors pledged to bring the city to a standstill. Two road deaths have been linked with the protests so far – both at illegal road blocks set up by the Yellow Vests

Some 3000 police were on the streets of central Paris today, where the protestors pledged to bring the city to a standstill. Two road deaths have been linked with the protests so far – both at illegal road blocks set up by the Yellow Vests

Some 3000 police were on the streets of central Paris today, where the protestors pledged to bring the city to a standstill. Two road deaths have been linked with the protests so far – both at illegal road blocks set up by the Yellow Vests

Thousands of police have been deployed nationwide to contain the demonstrations, including a tense protest at the foot of the Champs-Elysees where protesters upturned a large vehicle

Thousands of police have been deployed nationwide to contain the demonstrations, including a tense protest at the foot of the Champs-Elysees where protesters upturned a large vehicle

Thousands of police have been deployed nationwide to contain the demonstrations, including a tense protest at the foot of the Champs-Elysees where protesters upturned a large vehicle

The Yellow Vests – gilets jaunes in French – are named after the high visibility jackets that they wear, and are conducting a grassroots campaign against escalating petrol and diesel prices

The Yellow Vests – gilets jaunes in French – are named after the high visibility jackets that they wear, and are conducting a grassroots campaign against escalating petrol and diesel prices

The Yellow Vests – gilets jaunes in French – are named after the high visibility jackets that they wear, and are conducting a grassroots campaign against escalating petrol and diesel prices

Some 3000 police were on the streets of central Paris today, where the protestors pledged to bring the city to a standstill

Some 3000 police were on the streets of central Paris today, where the protestors pledged to bring the city to a standstill

Some 3000 police were on the streets of central Paris today, where the protestors pledged to bring the city to a standstill

A woman is lying on the ground with a French flag during clashes with the police forces during a demonstration on the Champs Elysee as part of a nationwide protest in Paris today 

A woman is lying on the ground with a French flag during clashes with the police forces during a demonstration on the Champs Elysee as part of a nationwide protest in Paris today 

A woman is lying on the ground with a French flag during clashes with the police forces during a demonstration on the Champs Elysee as part of a nationwide protest in Paris today 

People wearing yellow vests as a symbol of French driver's and citizen's protest against higher fuel prices are affected by tear gas during clashes with the police 

People wearing yellow vests as a symbol of French driver's and citizen's protest against higher fuel prices are affected by tear gas during clashes with the police 

People wearing yellow vests as a symbol of French driver’s and citizen’s protest against higher fuel prices are affected by tear gas during clashes with the police 

The zone included the Elysee Palace – Mr Macron’s official home – and the Place de la Concorde, opposite the National Assembly, France’s parliament.

The Yellow Vests – gilets jaunes in French – are named after the high visibility jackets that they wear, and are conducting a grassroots campaign against escalating petrol and diesel prices.

Senior French ministers have slammed the ‘radicalisation’ and ‘anarchy’ involved, claiming far-Right and hard-Left elements have hijacked the protests.

Two road deaths have been linked with them so far – both at illegal road blocks set up by the Yellow Vests.

There have also been 553 woundings, 17 of them serious. More than 95 police have been hurt in a variety of disturbances, including an attempt to storm the Elysee Palace last weekend.

Some 3000 police were on the streets of central Paris today, where the protestors pledged to bring the city to a standstill.

By 11am, clouds of tea gas covered the Champs Elysee, and especially the area close to the place de la Concorde.

There have also been 553 woundings, 17 of them serious. More than 95 police have been hurt in a variety of disturbances, including an attempt to storm the Elysee Palace last weekend. Despite this, protestors continued to gather in the city today (pictured)

There have also been 553 woundings, 17 of them serious. More than 95 police have been hurt in a variety of disturbances, including an attempt to storm the Elysee Palace last weekend. Despite this, protestors continued to gather in the city today (pictured)

There have also been 553 woundings, 17 of them serious. More than 95 police have been hurt in a variety of disturbances, including an attempt to storm the Elysee Palace last weekend. Despite this, protestors continued to gather in the city today (pictured)

The Champ de Mars - the field next to the Eiffel Tower – had been set aside by the Paris authorities for the demonstration, but it was ignored by the protestors

The Champ de Mars - the field next to the Eiffel Tower – had been set aside by the Paris authorities for the demonstration, but it was ignored by the protestors

The Champ de Mars – the field next to the Eiffel Tower – had been set aside by the Paris authorities for the demonstration, but it was ignored by the protestors

Protestors were seen climbing on traffic cones and running away from fires, in the protest which is against Macron's recent decision to hike fuel prices

Protestors were seen climbing on traffic cones and running away from fires, in the protest which is against Macron's recent decision to hike fuel prices

Mr Macron has insisted that fuel prices have to rise in line with green initiatives made necessary by the Paris Climate Change agreement

Mr Macron has insisted that fuel prices have to rise in line with green initiatives made necessary by the Paris Climate Change agreement

Protestors were seen climbing on traffic cones and running away from fires, in the protest which is against Macron’s recent decision to hike fuel prices. Mr Macron has insisted that fuel prices have to rise in line with green initiatives made necessary by the Paris Climate Change agreement

Mr Macron has insisted that fuel prices have to rise in line with green initiatives made necessary by the Paris Climate Change agreement. But protestors continue to campaign against the price hikes  

Mr Macron has insisted that fuel prices have to rise in line with green initiatives made necessary by the Paris Climate Change agreement. But protestors continue to campaign against the price hikes  

Mr Macron has insisted that fuel prices have to rise in line with green initiatives made necessary by the Paris Climate Change agreement. But protestors continue to campaign against the price hikes  

A water cannon and rounds of teargas were used by riot police against the thousands of French ‘Yellow Vest’ fuel protestors in Paris today

A water cannon and rounds of teargas were used by riot police against the thousands of French ‘Yellow Vest’ fuel protestors in Paris today

A water cannon and rounds of teargas were used by riot police against the thousands of French ‘Yellow Vest’ fuel protestors in Paris today

Last week a woman died and more than 400 people were hurt in a day and night of 'yellow vest' protests over rising fuel price hikes across France

Last week a woman died and more than 400 people were hurt in a day and night of 'yellow vest' protests over rising fuel price hikes across France

Last week a woman died and more than 400 people were hurt in a day and night of ‘yellow vest’ protests over rising fuel price hikes across France

Some protestors wore masks as they marched around Paris today, campaigning against a recent hike in fuel prices 

Some protestors wore masks as they marched around Paris today, campaigning against a recent hike in fuel prices 

Some protestors wore masks as they marched around Paris today, campaigning against a recent hike in fuel prices 

Running battles were taking place between mobile squads of CRS police, and the demonstrators, as objects were thrown between the two.

The Champ de Mars – the field next to the Eiffel Tower – had been set aside by the Paris authorities for the demonstration, but it was ignored by the protestors.

‘We’re not here to do what officials tell us,’ said Max Lefevre, a 22-year-old student taking part in the demonstrations.

‘We’re here to oppose a government that is completely out of touch with the lives of ordinary people. This is a people’s revolt.’  

Several thousand had gathered by early Saturday on the famous Champs-Elysees where they clashed with police trying to prevent them moving down to the Place de la Concorde near the Louvre museum.

Police said the protestors had tried to break through a cordon several times but had been prevented from doing so, with tear gas used more than once.

‘We have just demonstrated peacefully, and we were teargassed,’ said Christophe, 49, who traveled from the Isere region in eastern France with his wife to protest in the capital. ‘We see how we are welcomed in Paris.’

Police said Saturday’s incidents were linked to the ‘presence of members of the far-right who harassed the security forces.’ 

Tensions have been mounting around the grassroots movement that drew more than a quarter million people a week ago to protests across France, from Provence to Normandy and in between. 

Mr Macron has insisted that fuel prices have to rise in line with green initiatives made necessary by the Paris Climate Change agreement.

He said there would be ‘no possibility’ of his government backing down in the face of disturbances.

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