The most violent urban riots in a decade engulfed the French capital on Saturday, as "yellow jacket" protesters torched cars, smashed windows, looted stores, and tagged the Arc de Triomphe in Paris with multi-colored graffiti, the AP reports. Protesters angry about rising taxes and the high cost of living clashed with riot police, who closed off some of the city's most popular tourist areas and fired tear gas and water cannons in running street battles with activists dressed in the fluorescent yellow vests of a new protest movement. It was the third straight weekend of clashes in Paris and the worst urban violence since at least 2005. Hours later, cars still smoldered and law enforcement and protesters were still facing off elsewhere in the capital.
The scene contrasted sharply with protests elsewhere in France, where demonstrations and road blockades Saturday were largely peaceful. Paris police say at least 92 people, including 20 police officers, were injured in the violent protests in the French capital and 224 others were arrested. Thousands of police were deployed to try to contain the mayhem. Deputy Interior minister Laurent Nunez says police were facing "violent extremists" in Paris who had hijacked the protest. The clashes started early Saturday near the Arc de Triomphe monument and continued in the afternoon down several streets in the French capital's most popular tourist area. Pockets of demonstrators built makeshift barricades in the middle of Paris streets, lit fires, sprayed graffiti on the Arc de Triomphe and fire to cars and trash cans. Some stores were looted. (Protesters marched in an Alabama suburb after police shot the wrong guy.)