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Rioters will pay for this, vows Macron after violence in Paris

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France’s President Emmanuel Macron (middle), Interior Minister Christophe Castaner (second from right), Secretary of State to the Interior Minister Laurent Nunez (left) and Paris Police Prefect Michel Delpuech (right) arrive to visit firefighters and police the day after violent riots erupted in Parisomphe

France’s President Emmanuel Macron (middle), Interior Minister Christophe Castaner (second from right), Secretary of State to the Interior Minister Laurent Nunez (left) and Paris Police Prefect Michel Delpuech (right) arrive to visit firefighters and police the day after violent riots erupted in Parisomphe

AP

France’s President Emmanuel Macron (middle), Interior Minister Christophe Castaner (second from right), Secretary of State to the Interior Minister Laurent Nunez (left) and Paris Police Prefect Michel Delpuech (right) arrive to visit firefighters and police the day after violent riots erupted in Parisomphe

President Emmanuel Macron has visited the graffiti-damaged Arc de Triomphe monument and held an emergency meeting on security, a day after central Paris was hit by France's worst riot in a generation.

Mr Macron, who met with his prime minister and interior and environment ministers, has vowed that those responsible for the violence and the damage will pay for their actions.

His tour of France's beloved monument came just hours after he flew back from the G20 summit in Argentina.

Mr Macron paid tribute to the Unknown Soldier from the First World War whose tomb is under the monument.

He then headed to a nearby avenue where activists wearing yellow jackets had torched cars, smashed windows, looted shops and battled police on Saturday.

There he met with firefighters, police officers and restaurant owners.

Paris police said 133 people had been injured and 412 had been arrested as protesters trashed the streets of the capital during a demonstration against rising taxes and the high cost of living.

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Charred cars, broken windows and downed fences from the riot littered many of the city's most popular tourist areas, including major streets near the Arc de Triomphe, the famous Champs-Elysees avenue, and the Tuileries garden.

Graffiti was also sprayed on many shops and buildings.

Rioters had thrown rocks at police and tagged the Arc de Triomphe with multi-coloured graffiti. Officers responded with tear gas and water cannon, closing down dozens of streets and Metro stations as they tried to contain the trouble. Police said 23 officers were among the injured, and 378 of those arrested have been put in police custody.

By yesterday morning, Paris city employees were cleaning up the graffiti on the famous monument.

One slogan read "Yellow jackets will triumph", a reference to the fluorescent yellow vests that protesters wore to demand relief for France's beleaguered workers.

Government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux said Saturday's violence was due to extremists who hijacked the protest, people who came "to loot, break and hit police forces".

He was asked why thousands of French police could not prevent the damage.

"Yesterday we made a choice ... to protect people before material goods," Mr Griveaux told French broadcaster BFM TV.

It was the third weekend of clashes in Paris where the scenes contrasted sharply with protests elsewhere in France on Saturday that were mostly peaceful.


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