Anti-government demonstrators threw stones and flagstones at the police, looted shops, destroyed a luxury restaurant on the famous Champs-Elysees in Paris and set fire to a bank on Saturday.
A mother and her baby trapped on the second floor of the building, as flames erupted from the bank's ground-floor bank, were rescued by firefighters. Bank offices were emptied and 11 people were slightly injured, including two policemen.
Fumes and tear gas have enveloped the Champs-Elysees and at least 109 people were arrested during the worst outbreak of violence on the sidelines of a demonstration of the "yellow vest" in Paris for several weeks.
President Emmanuel Macron abbreviated his ski holidays to return to Paris to preside over an emergency meeting on what the authorities describe as "violence and intolerable damage".
Christophe Castaner, the Minister of the Interior, tweeted that those who set fire to the bank "are neither protesters nor troublemakers: they are killers".
Smiling protesters "yellow vest" posed for photos in front of the broken facade of Le Fouquet's, a restaurant that earned Nicolas Sarkozy the nickname "President Bling-bling" when he celebrated his victory in the 2007 elections.
Most of the violence that took place this Saturday in the 18th against President Macron's economic reforms was blamed on anarchists, right-wing agitators and far-left supporters rather than the "yellow vests" themselves. same.
The police estimated the number of protesters at about 32,000 throughout the French territory. About 5,000 police officers were deployed in Paris alone. The number of protesters has declined since the start of the "yellow jacket" movement in November, due to growing anger over income inequality and lack of public services in rural areas and small towns.
More people took to the streets on Saturday in comparison to the last weeks, following calls by social media for a strong participation on the occasion of the fourth anniversary of the launch of the movement.
President Macron closed Friday a "big debate" to allow people to voice their grievances, which helped him regain some of the popularity lost since his election. Some "yellow vests" described the exercise as a campaign ploy before the May European elections.
About 30,000 people took part in a separate peaceful protest demanding urgent government action to fight climate change