PARIS (AP) — The Latest on French protests against rising taxes (all times local):
French police have fired tear gas to try to disperse a large group of “yellow jacket” protesters gathered in front of the Arc de Triomphe.
A big cloud of tear gas partially cloaked the famed monument as riot officers closed in to try to push back the demonstrators.
But protesters responded by throwing large rocks, and the officers retreated to cheers from the crowd.
The demonstrators are angry about rising taxes and French President Emmanuel Macron’s leadership. The protests began on Nov. 17.
Scuffles have broken out between some French protesters angry over rising taxes and police for a third straight weekend, after small pockets of demonstrators built barricades in the middle of streets in central Paris and lit fires.
Thousands of police were deployed to try to contain the protests on and around the famed Champs-Elysees avenue.
Most of the protesters, called “yellow jackets” for the fluorescent vests they wear, were peaceful. But others mixed in with them wore black hoodies and piled up construction materials, including large plywood planks, in the middle of a street near the Arc de Triomphe, and set the rubble on fire.
Police responded by firing bursts from a water cannon with backup from riot officers, who used tear gas on the protesters.
French authorities have deployed 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.
The so-called yellow jackets have called for new demonstrations and road blockades Saturday across France, including the capital, where a demonstration last weekend turned violent.
Hundreds of people gathered at the top of the Champs-Elysees on Saturday morning. Access to the avenue was closed to cars and strictly monitored by police with identity checks and bag inspections.
Police briefly used tear gas to disperse the crowd as some tried to force their way through.
The protests, which began with motorists demonstrating against a fuel tax hike, now involve a broad range of demands related to the country’s high cost of living.