Scattered clashes are continuing around the city as the protesters seek to reach the presidential palace and demand President Emmanuel Macron’s resignation. While the situation is tense, police appear to have it more under control than a week ago, when rioting and looting overwhelmed Paris security forces.
The latest flashpoint is not far from the flagship buildings of France’s most famed department stores, Galeries Lafayette and Printemps, and near the Palais Garnier opera house. Protesters uprooted trees on one of the neighborhood’s “grands boulevards” and set them on fire, while others hurled flares and other projectiles at rows of riot police.
Like several neighborhoods of Paris, the area is largely locked down, with many stores shuttered for fear of violence.
Overall police estimate there are about 8,000 yellow vest protesters in Paris on Saturday, down from last week.
Meanwhile the government deployed 8,000 police in the city, as part of exceptional security measures aimed at preventing a repeat of last week’s rioting, which injured 130 people and struck a new blow to France’s global image.
Protesters smashed street signs and traffic lights near a police barricade blocking access to the office of Prime Minister Charles Michel, as they chanted slogans calling on him to resign.
They threw paving stones, fireworks, flares and other objects at police.
Brussels police spokeswoman Ilse Van de Keere says around 400 protesters are gathered in the area.
About 100 have been detained, many for possessing dangerous objects like fireworks or wearing clothing that could be used as protection in clashes with police.
In the Netherlands, about 100 protesters gathered in a peaceful demonstration outside the Dutch parliament in The Hague. At least two protesters were detained by police in central Amsterdam.