More than 1,000 people were arrested across France as security forces deployed tear gas and water cannon to tackle anti-government protests.
Rioters hurled missiles, torched cars and trees and vandalised shops and restaurants as the ‘gilets jaunes’ staged their fourth weekend of demonstrations.
In Paris an estimated 10,000 people marched up a Champs-Elysees decked out in pink Christmas lights and police charged protesters on horseback. A total of 620 people were arrested in the French capital alone.
As darkness fell, interior minister Christophe Castaner announced that the violence was “under control” but condemned it as “totally unacceptable”.
He said 135 people, including 17 police officers, were injured across the country and vowed that the security forces would remain vigilant overnight as there were reports of groups of youths looting shops.
The “yellow vests” movement – a reference to the fluorescent safety outfit French motorists keep in their cars – began on 17 November as a backlash to a rise in fuel taxes.
They have since come to encompass general anger and disillusionment with President Emmanuel Macron’s government and high living costs. Four people have died during the protests so far.
Amid warnings that far-right, anarchist and anti-capitalist groups would try to hijack the demonstrations, nearly 90,000 police and other security personnel were deployed across the country from 4am on Saturday.
Shops, restaurants and cafes were boarded up and shuttered while tourist destinations such as The Louvre, Eiffel Tower and the Paris Opera were also closed.
Donald Trump reacted to reports of rioting in the French capital by suggesting that the unrest could be blamed on the 2015 Paris climate change agreement. He also claimed that protesters were shouting “We want Trump”.
If you want to read how events unfolded, read our live coverage below.
Welcome to our live coverage of Saturday's ongoing protests in Paris
Prized monuments, including the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre Museum, have been closed as demonstrators march through central the French capital
Police in Paris have fired tear gas at a group of yellow vested protesters who tried to march on the French presidential palace
211 people have been arrested in Paris after police found them carrying weapons such as hammers, baseball bats and metal balls.
Christophe Castaner, France's Interior Minister, has urged peaceful protesters to avoid "hooligans".
"The troublemakers can only be effective when they disguise themselves as yellow vests," he told online news site Brut.
"Violence is never a good way to get what you want. Now is the time for discussion."
Read Nabila Ramdani's piece on the gilets jaunes movement here:
Police officers are seizing protective equipment from journalists and barring some protesters from boarding trains to Paris, as part of security measures designed to prevent rioting.
Officers positioned at train stations around France are under orders to verify all passengers and turn away equipment that could be used to "cause damage to people or property", a national police spokesperson said.
The "yellow vest" movement has crossed borders and is gathering momentum in Belgium and the Netherlands.
Hundreds of police officers have been deployed in Brussels, where rallies are taking place today outside the main European Union institutions.
Edouard Philippe, the French prime minister, has said that authorities will do everything possible to avoid further violence.
"We will do all we can so that today can be a day without violence, so that the dialogue that we started this week can continue in the best possible circumstances," he said on national television.
Last weekend saw the worst riot in decades in Paris. with over 400 people arrested.
Tourists heading to Paris for the weekend will encounter a city under siege.
Read more about the disruption here:
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