Paris in pictures: Burned cars and graffiti littered monuments

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.

 

TOPSHOT – A man throws a stone next to the broken windows of the Musee de l’Orangerie (L) and a burning vehicle (R), on the Tuileries Garden, during a protest of Yellow vests (Gilets jaunes) against rising oil prices and living costs, in Paris on December 1, 2018. – Police and anti-government protesters clashed near the Champs-Elysees and in other parts of central Paris on December 1 with demonstrators hurling rocks and paint at riot police who responded with tear gas. The clashes came as thousands took part in a third weekend of “yellow vest” protests which have morphed from anger over fuel taxes into a broader anti-government movement. (Photo by – / AFP)
TOPSHOT – A protester throws projectile at riot police 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)
TOPSHOT – Demonstrators clash with riot police at the Arc de Triomphe 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)
TOPSHOT – Protesters walk by burning cars during clashes with riot police on the sideline of 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)
TOPSHOT – A car burns on the sideline of a demonstration by Yellow vests (Gilets jaunes) against rising oil prices and living costs, on December 1, 2018 in Paris. (Photo by Abdulmonam EASSA / AFP)
TOPSHOT – A protester wearing a Guy Fawkes mask makes the victory sign 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)
A woman walks along a broken window of a company on December 2, 2018 in Paris, a day after clashes during a protest of Yellow vests (Gilets jaunes) against rising oil prices and living costs. – Anti-government protesters torched dozens of cars and set fire to storefronts during daylong clashes with riot police across central Paris on N, as thousands took part in fresh “yellow vest” protests against high fuel taxes. (Photo by Geoffroy VAN DER HASSELT / AFP)
A man looks at an inscription, reading “Burn, washed away by a revolutionary wave”, on the wall of a building in Paris on December 2, 2018, a day after clashes during a protest of Yellow vests (Gilets jaunes) against rising oil prices and living costs. – Anti-government protesters torched dozens of cars and set fire to storefronts during daylong clashes with riot police across central Paris on N, as thousands took part in fresh “yellow vest” protests against high fuel taxes. (Photo by Geoffroy VAN DER HASSELT / AFP)
A picture shows a burned car in a street of Paris on December 2, 2018, a day after clashes during a protest of Yellow vests (Gilets jaunes) against rising oil prices and living costs. – Anti-government protesters torched dozens of cars and set fire to storefronts during daylong clashes with riot police across central Paris on N, as thousands took part in fresh “yellow vest” protests against high fuel taxes. (Photo by Geoffroy VAN DER HASSELT / AFP)