Graffiti was removed from the Arc de Triomphe today after anti-Macron protesters stormed through Paris on Saturday.
The protesters occupied the city centre and torched cars, smashed windows with clubs and axes and stole an assault rifle from riot police firing tear gas and water cannon in France’s worst urban rioting for years.
The French President – who faced calls to resign from protesters who scrawled anti-Macron slogans on the Arc de Triomphe – today vowed to bring the rioters to justice as he inspected wreckage on the Champs-Elysees.
The ‘yellow vest’ protests, which began as a rebellion against a fuel tax hike but have expanded into weeks of civil unrest, spread across the country yesterday and ended with 133 people injured, including 23 police officers, and 412 arrested last night.
Macron was jeered by lingering yellow-vest supporters before chairing a crisis meeting with ministers, amid calls to declare a state of emergency or even send in the army to quell the violence.
Graffiti was removed from Arc de Triomphe today after anti-Macron protesters stormed through the Paris on Saturday
Workers wearing protective clothing scrub graffiti off the Arc de Triomphe on Sunday after the violence yesterday
Cleanup operations to remove graffiti scrawled at the Arc de Triomphe continue the day after clashes with protesters wearing yellow vests
French President Emmanuel Macron inspects the wreckage in Paris today where he was booed as he
The burned-out shell of a car lies in the street this morning after it was set on fire during the violent protests in Paris yesterday
A yellow-vested protester raises his arms with cars burning behind him in scenes of violent carnage in Paris last night
French President Emmanuel Macron visits the Arc de Triomphe as soon as he returned from the G20 summit in Argentina. He condemned the violence and vowed to bring the rioters to justice
Three cars burn in bright orange flames as a masked protester wearing the signature yellow vest stands in front of them
Riot police wearing helmets hold up their shields with tear gas in the air as they attempt to quell the protests in Paris
A burned car is seen on Kleber avenue on Sunday morning after clashes with protesters yesterday
Demonstrators stand in front of a burning car during the yellow vest protest in Paris on Saturday
An overturned car burns in flames during the protests in Paris yesterday which grew into one of France’s worst urban riots
Macron surveys the damage in Paris today with a burnt motorbike lying in a street a day after the carnage in the capital
May 1968 Paris riots
Following months of conflicts between students and authorities at the Nanterre campus of the University of Paris, the administration shut down the university on 2 May 1968.
Thousands of members of the students union met in Paris on 3 May to protest against the closure.
The protests quickly spread to other unions bringing about massive general strikes as well as the occupation of universities and factories across France.
The protests reached such a point that political leaders feared civil war or revolution as the economy was ground to a halt.
President Charles de Gaulle secretly fled France for a few hours to a military base in Germany.
When he returned he dissolved the National Assembly and called for elections on 23 June, which he won.
Macron, who went to Paris as soon as he returned from the G20 in Argentina today, held talks with his prime minister and interior minister at the Elysee Palace nearby.
Images showed the inside of the Arc de Triomphe ransacked, with a statue of Marianne – a symbol of the French republic – smashed and graffiti sprawled on the exterior.
Under heavy security, the French leader spoke with police and firefighters on one of the avenues near the Champs-Elysees, with some yellow-jacketed protesters nearby shouting: ‘Macron resign!’
As the clean-up began today workmen cleared away burnt hulks of cars, scrubbed the defaced Arc de Triomphe and replaced the shattered windows of luxury boutiques in Paris.
A government spokesman said it was ‘out of the question that each weekend becomes a meeting or ritual for violence’ after a second consecutive Saturday ended in violent carnage in Paris.
The capital was calm today but a motorway was blocked by yellow-vested protesters in Lyon, and groups sprung up on social media calling for an ‘Act 4’ next week after three Saturdays of protests.
A state of emergency would allow extra powers to the forces of law and order, ranging from stop-and-searches to carrying out raids on the homes of suspected rioters, amid calls for the army to be called in.
However, a source at the Elysee Palace said this afternoon that Macron had not discussed a state of emergency with ministers today.
His office said in a statement that the president had asked his interior minister to prepare security forces for future protests and his prime minister to hold talks with political party leaders and representatives of the protesters.
The Arc was among hundreds of buildings attacked by the protesters on Saturday as the Champs-Elysees was reduced to a warzone in the centre of the French capital.
Protesters set fire to cars and Christmas trees, hurled barricades at police, smashed up windows and graffitied the 19th-century arch – while calling for Macron to resign – in violence which continued into the night.
On the facade of the towering 19th-century arch, protesters scrawled in big black letters: ‘The yellow vests will triumph’, while along the Champs-Elysees, peaceful demonstrators held up a slogan reading, ‘Macron, stop treating us like idiots!’
France last brought in a state of emergency in 2015, following terrorist attacks by Islamic State, which lasted until November 2017.
President Macron meets firefighters in the streets of Paris on Sunday the morning after the violence erupted in the capital
The French President at the Arc de Triomphe today standing in front of a message saying ‘Macron – we want your a**e’
Macron sits across from Prime Minister Edouard Philippe at the start of a meeting at the Elysee Palace to address the violence
Police get to work this morning wiping the message ‘The Yellow Vests Will Triumph’ off the historic Arc de Triomphe
A Parisian looks at the vandalised window of a bank in the city centre today following Saturday’s violent protests
Burned cars on the street in the centre of Paris today after protesters torched vehicles and clashed with riot police yesterday
The wreckage of a car which was burned in the violent carnage in Paris yesterday stands in the street on Sunday
Workers remove a mechanical digger stolen from a construction site during the protests on Saturday
Protesters wearing ‘yellow vests’ on the Champs-Elysees in the centre of Paris look out over the Eiffel Tower
Riot police take control of the Place de l’Etoile, which surrounds the Arc de Triomphe at the end of the Champs-Elysees
A demonstrator holds a French flag and wears a yellow jacket among a pile of Christmas trees during Saturday’s protest
Police take position as they face demonstrators in Marseille, southern France, as protests spread out across the country
Protesters said the riots yesterday were the ‘start of a revolution’, in violence which echoed the near-revolution of 1968.
‘We are in an insurrectional climate,’ said Frederic Lagache, of the Alliance police union, which called for the State of Emergency.
Mr Lagache said ‘army reinforcements’ should be brought in to guard public monuments, freeing up the police to deal with other trouble spots.
Sixteen identity check points and police barricades had been set up on the Champs Elysees for the first time in its history in an attempt to avoid rioting but the measures failed to halt the anarchy in Paris.
Condemning the violence, Macron said: ‘No cause justifies that authorities are attacked, that businesses are plundered, that passers-by or journalists are threatened or that the Arc du Triomphe is defiled.
‘Those guilty of this violence don’t want change, they don’t want improvements, they want chaos. They betray the causes that they pretend to serve and which they manipulate.
‘They will be identified and brought to justice for their actions. I will always respect debate and I will always listen to opposition but I will never accept violence’.
The ‘yellow vest’ or ‘gilets jaunes’ movement was first prompted by Macron’s move to raise the price of diesel fuel to help the environment.
Motorists took to the streets wearing the high-visibility yellow jackets which drivers are required to carry in their vehicles in France, giving the movement its name.
Since then the protest has gathered momentum and taken aim at the high cost of living and wider dissatisfaction with Macron’s presidency.
A police car burns after clashes between police and protesters, in Marseille, in what has become a national protest movement
Burned cars are seen on Kleber avenue on Sunday morning the day after some of France’s worst rioting in 50 years
Firefighters wearing helmets and protective clothes spray water over a burning car in the centre of Paris amid violent protests
Cars are seen on fire during the ‘yellow vest’ demonstration on an avenue in Paris last night
The protests yesterday spread beyond Paris as demonstrators wearing the same high-vis vests blocked a motorway in Biarritz in the south-west of the country and let off yellow smoke grenades in Marseille, France’s second-largest city.
The yellow-jacket protests even spread to The Hague, in the Netherlands, where people gathered outside the Dutch parliamentary building on Saturday.
The French government has faced difficulties dealing with the protesters as the movement has no real leadership and has not aligned itself with any political organisation.
Macron has sought to douse the anger by promising three months of nationwide talks on turning France into a low-carbon economy without penalising the poor.
He also vowed to slow the rate of increase in fuel taxes if international oil prices rise too rapidly but only after a tax hike due in January.
On Friday, the government tried – mostly in vain – to talk to representatives of the movement.
Eight were invited to meet Prime Minister Edouard Philippe but only two turned up, and one walked out after being told he could not invite TV cameras in to broadcast the encounter live to the nation.
The protests have caught Macron off guard just as he was trying to counter a fall in his popularity rating to 30 per cent.
His unyielding response has exposed him to charges of being out of touch with ordinary people.
Demonstrators run by a burning fire near the Arc de Triomphe during a fresh protest which has seen Yellow Vest supporters clash with riot police and more than 100 people arrested so far on Saturday
Protesters wearing masks, helmets and the movement’s signature yellow vests wave a Tricolore flag in front of the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs-Elysees
Riot police officers stand in the middle of the damage of La Belle Armee restaurant after the rioting in Paris last night
Smoke can be seen rising in the distance, in a picture taken from the top of the Arc de Triomphe amid the rioting
This picture taken from the top of the Arc de Triomphe shows a scattering of yellow-vested protesters and smoke rising over the Paris skyline as darkness starts to fall on the French capital after a day of violent protest
French riot police are seen locking down a street through the shattered window of the La Belle Armee restaurant which was destroyed in the protests
A vandalised shop is seen on a street the morning after clashes between police and protesters in the city
A man walks away from a burning wreckage as yellow jacket protesters clashed with police throughout the day in Paris
Firefighters rescue two people on the ground who were hurt when part of the Tuileries Gardens was pulled down in Paris
A flaming wreckage in the centre of Paris last night in clashes which led to more than 100 injuries and 400 arrests
French riot police are drenched in spray paint after cans were hurled at them by yellow vest protesters in the capital