/Riot debris covers Paris streets; 133 injured, 412 arrested

Riot debris covers Paris streets; 133 injured, 412 arrested

PARIS (AP) — Paris police said Sunday that 133 people had been injured and 412 had been arrested as protesters trashed the streets of the capital during France’s worst urban riot in years.

French President Emmanuel Macron was holding an emergency meeting on security later Sunday with his prime minister and interior minister. He has vowed that those responsible for the violence and the damages will pay for their actions.

A protest against rising taxes and the high cost of living turned into a riot Saturday in the most popular tourist areas of the French capital. Activists wearing yellow jackets torched cars, smashed windows, looted stores, threw rocks at police and tagged the Arc de Triomphe with multi-colored graffiti. Police responded with tear gas and water cannon, closing down dozens of streets and Metro stations as they tried to contain the riot.

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

By Sunday morning, Paris city employees were cleaning up the graffiti on the Arc de Triomphe. One read: “Yellow jackets will triumph” — a reference to the fluorescent yellow vests that protesters are wearing to demand relief for France’s beleaguered workers.

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Demonstrators wearing yellow vests riot, torch cars to protest against higher diesel fuel taxes in Paris

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A man takes a snapshot of charred cars the day after a demonstration, near the Arc de Triomphe, in Paris, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018. A protest against rising taxes and the high cost of living turned into a riot in the French capital, as activists torched cars, smashed windows, looted stores and tagged the Arc de Triomphe with multi-colored graffiti. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

A charred car is pictured the day after a demonstration, near the Arc de Triomphe, in Paris, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018. A protest against rising taxes and the high cost of living turned into a riot in the French capital, as activists torched cars, smashed windows, looted stores and tagged the Arc de Triomphe with multi-colored graffiti. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Graffitis are pictured on the Arc de Triomphe the day after a demonstration, in Paris, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018. A protest against rising taxes and the high cost of living turned into a riot in the French capital, as activists torched cars, smashed windows, looted stores and tagged the Arc de Triomphe with multi-colored graffiti. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Workers are about to clean a graffiti, center, reading “yellow jackets will triumph” on the Arc de Triomphe the day after a demonstration, in Paris, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018. A protest against rising taxes and the high cost of living turned into a riot in the French capital, as activists torched cars, smashed windows, looted stores and tagged the Arc de Triomphe with multi-colored graffiti. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

A woman takes a snapshot of charred cars the day after a demonstration, near the Arc de Triomphe, in Paris, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018. A protest against rising taxes and the high cost of living turned into a riot in the French capital, as activists torched cars, smashed windows, looted stores and tagged the Arc de Triomphe with multi-colored graffiti. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

A worker is about to clean a graffiti reading ” Macron resignation” on the Arc de Triomphe the day after a demonstration, in Paris, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018. A protest against rising taxes and the high cost of living turned into a riot in the French capital, as activists torched cars, smashed windows, looted stores and tagged the Arc de Triomphe with multi-colored graffiti. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

A charred car is pictured the day after a demonstration, near the Arc de Triomphe, in Paris, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018. A protest against rising taxes and the high cost of living turned into a riot in the French capital, as activists torched cars, smashed windows, looted stores and tagged the Arc de Triomphe with multi-colored graffiti. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Demonstrator push charred car during a demonstration Saturday, Dec.1, 2018 in Paris. Protesters angry about rising taxes clashed with French police for a third straight weekend and over 100 were arrested after pockets of demonstrators built barricades in the middle of streets in central Paris, lit fires and threw rocks at officers Saturday. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Demonstrators are pictured from the top of the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs-Elysees avenue during a demonstration Saturday, Dec.1, 2018 in Paris. Demonstrations against rising taxes turned into scenes of rioting in Paris city center as at least 65 people including 11 police officers have been injured in violent protests in the French capital. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu)

A broken sculpture of Marianne, symbol of the French Repupblic, appears damaged in the gallery inside the Arc de Triomphe during a demonstration Saturday, Dec.1, 2018 in Paris. A French protest against rising taxes and the high cost of living turned into a riot Saturday in Paris as police fired tear gas and water cannon in street battles with activists wearing the fluorescent yellow vests of a new movement. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu)

A demonstrator leaves as water cannons evacuate the Place de l’Etoile, near the Arc de Triomphe, Saturday, Dec.1, 2018 in Paris. A French protest against rising taxes and the high cost of living turned into a riot Saturday in Paris as police fired tear gas and water cannon in street battles with activists wearing the fluorescent yellow vests of a new movement. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu)

A demonstrator watches a burning car near the Champs-Elysees avenue during a demonstration Saturday, Dec.1, 2018 in Paris. French authorities have deployed thousands of police on Paris’ Champs-Elysees avenue to try to contain protests by people angry over rising taxes and Emmanuel Macron’s presidency. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu)

A hooded demonstrator throws an large wooden piece onto a fire during a demonstration Saturday, Dec.1, 2018 in Paris. Protesters angry about rising taxes clashed with French police for a third straight weekend and over 100 were arrested after pockets of demonstrators built barricades in the middle of streets in central Paris, lit fires and threw rocks at officers Saturday. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

A hooded demonstrator throws an item as a car buns during a demonstration Saturday, Dec.1, 2018 in Paris. Protesters angry about rising taxes clashed with French police for a third straight weekend and over 100 were arrested after pockets of demonstrators built barricades in the middle of streets in central Paris, lit fires and threw rocks at officers Saturday. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Hooded demonstrators smash a car during a demonstration Saturday, Dec.1, 2018 in Paris. Protesters angry about rising taxes clashed with French police for a third straight weekend and over 100 were arrested after pockets of demonstrators built barricades in the middle of streets in central Paris, lit fires and threw rocks at officers Saturday. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

A demonstrator runs pas a burning car during a demonstration Saturday, Dec.1, 2018 in Paris. Protesters angry about rising taxes clashed with French police for a third straight weekend and over 100 were arrested after pockets of demonstrators built barricades in the middle of streets in central Paris, lit fires and threw rocks at officers Saturday. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Demonstrators stand by the words “yellow jackets will triumph” written in black letters at the base of the Arc de Triomphe during a demonstration Saturday, Dec.1, 2018 in Paris. Paris police say at least 63 people have been arrested in violent clashes between protesters and police amid nationwide demonstrations against rising taxes and President Emmanuel Macron’s policies. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Un manifestante pasa frente a una barricada cerca del Arco del Triunfo en los Campos Elíseos, durante una protesta el sábado 1 de diciembre de 2018, en París. (AP Foto/Kamil Zihnioglu)

A demonstrator holds a French flag near the Arc de Triomphe during a demonstration Saturday, Dec.1, 2018 in Paris. Paris police say at least 63 people have been arrested in violent clashes between protesters and police amid nationwide demonstrations against rising taxes and President Emmanuel Macron’s policies. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu)

Demonstrators wearing yellow jackets face water cannons near the Champs-Elysees avenue during a demonstration Saturday, Dec.1, 2018 in Paris. French authorities have deployed thousands of police on Paris’ Champs-Elysees avenue to try to contain protests by people angry over rising taxes and Emmanuel Macron’s presidency. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu)

Manifestantes vistiendo chalecos amarillos protestan en el Arco del Triunfo, durante los enfrentamientos con la policía el sábado 1 de diciembre de 2018, en París. (AP Foto/Thibault Camus)

Demonstrators, known as they yellow jackets, protest in Marseille, southern France, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, against rising fuel costs and what they claim were dilapidated residential buildings that collapsed Monday Nov. 5, killing eight people. French authorities on Saturday deployed some thousands of police on Paris’ Champs-Elysees avenue to try to contain protests by people angry over rising taxes and President Emmanuel Macron’s government. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)

Demonstrators clash with police near burning barricades in Marseille, southern France, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, during protests against what they claim were dilapidated residential buildings that collapsed Monday Nov. 5, killing eight people. French authorities on Saturday deployed some thousands of police on Paris’ Champs-Elysees avenue to try to contain protests by people angry over rising taxes and President Emmanuel Macron’s government. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)

A demonstrator kicks a teargas canister away during clashes with police in Marseille, southern France, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, during protests against what they claim were dilapidated residential buildings that collapsed Monday Nov. 5, killing eight people. French authorities on Saturday deployed some thousands of police on Paris’ Champs-Elysees avenue to try to contain protests by people angry over rising taxes and President Emmanuel Macron’s government. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)

A man records the scene through clouds of teargas as demonstrators clash with police in Marseille, southern France, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, during protests against what they claim were dilapidated residential buildings that collapsed Monday Nov. 5, killing eight people. French authorities on Saturday deployed some thousands of police on Paris’ Champs-Elysees avenue to try to contain protests by people angry over rising taxes and President Emmanuel Macron’s government. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)

Police clash with demonstrators as Christmas trees burn in Marseille, southern France, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, during protests against what they claim were dilapidated residential buildings that collapsed Monday Nov. 5, killing eight people. French authorities on Saturday deployed some thousands of police on Paris’ Champs-Elysees avenue to try to contain protests by people angry over rising taxes and President Emmanuel Macron’s government. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)

Demonstrators run through clouds of teargas during clashes with police in Marseille, southern France, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, during protests against what they claim were dilapidated residential buildings that collapsed Monday Nov. 5, killing eight people. French authorities on Saturday deployed some thousands of police on Paris’ Champs-Elysees avenue to try to contain protests by people angry over rising taxes and President Emmanuel Macron’s government. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)

Demonstrators clash with police in Marseille, southern France, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, during protests against what they claim were dilapidated residential buildings that collapsed Monday Nov. 5, killing eight people. French authorities on Saturday deployed some thousands of police on Paris’ Champs-Elysees avenue to try to contain protests by people angry over rising taxes and President Emmanuel Macron’s government. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)

Police take position near a burning police car 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. French authorities on Saturday deployed some thousands of police on Paris’ Champs-Elysees avenue to try to contain protests by people angry over rising taxes and President Emmanuel Macron’s government. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)

Police take position near to burning barricades made from garbage, 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. French authorities on Saturday deployed some thousands of police on Paris’ Champs-Elysees avenue to try to contain protests by people angry over rising taxes and President Emmanuel Macron’s government. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)

Police take position near to burning barricades made from garbage, 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. French authorities on Saturday deployed some thousands of police on Paris’ Champs-Elysees avenue to try to contain protests by people angry over rising taxes and President Emmanuel Macron’s government. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)

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. French authorities on Saturday deployed some thousands of police on Paris’ Champs-Elysees avenue to try to contain protests by people angry over rising taxes and President Emmanuel Macron’s government. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)

France’s President Emmanuel Macron shakes hand with a firefighter as he visits firefighters and riot police officers the day after a demonstration, in Paris, France December 2, 2018. Thibault Camus/Pool via REUTERS

A yellow vest hangs inside a vandalized store the morning after clashes with protesters wearing yellow vests, a symbol of a French drivers’ protest against higher diesel fuel taxes, in Paris, France, December 2, 2018. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

A yellow vest hangs inside a vandalized store front the morning after clashes with protesters wearing yellow vests, a symbol of a French drivers’ protest against higher diesel fuel taxes, in Paris, France, December 2, 2018. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

A vandalized car is seen the morning after clashes with protesters wearing yellow vests, a symbol of a French drivers’ protest against higher diesel fuel taxes, in Paris, France, December 2, 2018. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

A person makes a picture outside a vandalized restaurant the morning after clashes with protesters wearing yellow vests, a symbol of a French drivers’ protest against higher diesel fuel taxes, in Paris, France, December 2, 2018. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

A man sweeps outside a vandalized store the morning after clashes with protesters wearing yellow vests, a symbol of a French drivers’ protest against higher diesel fuel taxes, in Paris, France, December 2, 2018. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

A man jogs past a vandalized bank front the morning after clashes with protesters wearing yellow vests, a symbol of a French drivers’ protest against higher diesel fuel taxes, in Paris, France, December 2, 2018. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

A vandalized bus stop is seen the morning after clashes with protesters wearing yellow vests, a symbol of a French drivers’ protest against higher diesel fuel taxes, in Paris, France, December 2, 2018. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

 

Some of Paris’ major avenues near the Arc de Triomphe and streets around the famed Champs-Elysees Avenue and the Tuileries garden were littered with piles of debris and burned cars. Graffiti was also sprayed on many storefronts and buildings.

Government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux said Saturday’s violence was due to those who hijacked the protest, people who came “to loot, break and hit police forces.”

He was questioned why thousands of French police couldn’t prevent the damage, especially to the nation’s Arc de Triomphe monument.

“Yesterday we made a choice … to protect people before material goods,” Griveaux told French broadcaster BFM TV.

It was the third straight weekend of clashes in Paris involving activists dressed in the yellow vests of a new protest movement and the worst urban violence since at least 2005. The scene in Paris contrasted sharply with protests elsewhere in France on Saturday that were mostly peaceful.

“It’s difficult to reach the end of the month. People work and pay a lot of taxes and we are fed up,” said Rabah Mendez, a protester who came to march peacefully in Paris.

The demonstrators say Macron’s government does not care about the problems of ordinary people. The grassroots protests began Nov. 17 with motorists upset over a fuel tax hike, but now involve a broad range of demands related to France’s high cost of living.

“(Violence) has nothing to do with the peaceful expression of a legitimate anger” and “no cause justifies” attacks on police or pillaging stores and burning buildings, Macron said in Buenos Aires.

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