Violence broke out in Paris during a fourth consecutive weekend of Yellow Vest protests on December 8.
French riot police used tear gas and rubber bullets. Nearly 90,000 officers had been deployed,including 8,000 in Paris where 12 armored vehicles were also used.
More than 1,700 people were arrested, but the violence was not on the same level as a week earlier.
According to the interior ministry, an estimated 125,000 people took part in marches across the country protesting against fuel tax rises and high living costs. Around 10,000 people demonstrated inParis, where the scenes were the most destructive. Windows were smashed, carswere burned and stores were looted.
Video footage showed protesters hitby rubber bullets – including in the face. At least three members of the press were among those hit.
Prime Minister Édouard Philippe hasvowed to “restore national unity” and said that discussions with peaceful protesters “must continue”.
He added: “No tax should jeopardize our national unity. We must now rebuild that national unity through dialogue, through work, and by coming together.”
The prime minister said President Emmanuel Macron – who many protesters want to stand down – would soon “putforward measures to foster this dialogue”.
Interior Minister ChristopheCastaner praised police – who had been deployed in force – for containing much of the unrest.
In a tweet, President Macron thanked the security forces for their “courage and exceptional professionalism”.