A total of 615 Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vests) have been arrested in Paris so far, with 508 of them remaining in custody as French police attempt to lock down the streets of Paris and make preventative arrests to quell potential violence.
This story is receiving regular updates as events unfold.
UPDATE: 1:30 pm EST
Paris has returned to a state of calm according to French media, as mayor of the city Anne Hidalgo took to social media to declare the violence “deplorable.”
“Dozens of traders have been victims of the rioters, in many neighbourhoods. Once again … It’s deplorable,” she said.
UPDATE: 12:35 pm EST
New reports indicate that around sixty people required hospitalisation as a result of the protests in Paris today, mostly with minor injuries. The number of injured is down sharply from last week, when 162 people required hospital care.
UPDATE: 11:51 am EST
New arrest figures for Paris show the number of Yellow Vests arrested by police has risen to 737. At least 55 people are said to have been wounded so far in the violent clashes, including three police officers.
UPDATE:11:40 am EST
Around 400 Yellow Vest protesters have been arrested in Brussels, Belgium, and one police officer has been wounded.
“A policeman was wounded in the face and was taken to the hospital, but he is not in danger,” said Ilse Van De Keere, spokesman for the Brussels-Capital Police Zone.
Protesters in the Belgian capital are said to have attacked police with paving stones in and around the area where European Union buildings are located.
UPDATE: 11:23 am EST
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has condemned the French authorities’ use of violence against the Yellow Vest protesters, saying: “Disorder reigns in the streets of many European countries, starting with Paris, televisions, newspapers are full of images of burning cars, looted businesses, the most violent response of the police against protesters.”
The Turkish leader, who arrested thousands of his opponents following a failed coup attempt in July 2016, mocked European politicians, saying that the continent had “failed in terms of democracy, human rights, and freedoms.”
UPDATE: 11:05 am EST
Clashes between protesters and police have also been reported in Bordeaux, according to Le Figaro, who say that protestors were seen to have thrown Molotov cocktails at police in the Pey Berland square.
UPDATE: 11:00 am EST
Unverified livestream footage from Toulouse appears to show Yellow Vest protestors raiding a construction site in order to build barricades and set fires, as well as clashes with police. Broadcaster France 3 confirms that protestors and police began clashing just before 3 pm local time.
UPDATE: 10:38 am EST
The number of arrests is now approaching 1,000 according to Le Figaro, which reports that just over 950 people have been arrested and 724 placed into custody across the country. According to a police source, the vast majority of arrests, 651, have taken place in Paris.
UPDATE: 10:30 am EST
A video of riot police shooting a Yellow Vest protestor with a rubber bullet has gone viral on social media being shared over 7,000 times on Twitter and receiving thousands of comments.
#Paris Un homme bras en l'air reçoit un tir de flash ball quasiment à bout portant. Dans le même temps une grenade est envoyée sur la presse pourtant clairement identifiée.#GiletsJaunes #ChampsÉlysées #Acte4 #Insurrection #8decembre2018 #8decembre2018 pic.twitter.com/CKQWuzWb2U
— Stéphanie Roy (@Steph_Roy_) December 8, 2018
UPDATE: 10:26 am EST via Associated Press
Clashes have broken out between “yellow vest” protesters and police in the port neighbourhood of Marseille, in the south of France.
An Associated Press journalist saw the fighting break out at midday at the port, one of the city’s main tourist sites.
It was not immediately clear whether anyone was injured.
The “yellow vest” protests started as a revolt against a gas tax increase but have since grown to envelop an array of grievances against living standards and President Emmanuel Macron
UPDATE: 10:10 am EST
French newspaper Le Figaro reports that a journalist has been wounded by a Yellow Vest protestor and has claimed that violence toward journalists by the protestors is much more intense than at previous weeks events.
Multiple cars have also been set on fire along the Boulevard de Courcelle according to BFMTV.
Des véhicules ont été incendiés par des casseurs sur le boulevard de Courcelles pic.twitter.com/fIARFu9HaP
— BFM Paris (@BFMParis) December 8, 2018
The police, who are out in the city in full force, have made the arrests during the morning and early afternoon in which has been a much more proactive approach than in previous weeks. Among those arrested are 20 members of the far right and extreme left who have made calls for violence BFMTV reports.
L'unité équestre des forces de l'ordre charge dans le IIIe arrondissement de Paris pic.twitter.com/U6lUSCaBuJ
— BFMTV (@BFMTV) December 8, 2018
Weapons have also been confiscated from Yellow Vest protestors including items such as paving stones, slingshots, hammers and other items that have been deemed weapons. On Friday, police arrested two other men in Montauban after finding a cache of 28 Molotov cocktails and three improvised explosive devices.
Following the orders for a general mobilization, the French police are also back backed up by armoured personnel carriers which have also been spotted in Paris and have been used to clear barricades.
— Clément Lanot (@ClementLanot) December 8, 2018
Initially, the Yellow Vest movement was sparked by a rise in fuel taxes but even after French President Emmanuel Macron repealed the tax, the protests have continued, with many calling for him to resign from office entirely.
Some protestors have also begun to discuss other issues facing France, which as the UN migration pact that is set to be signed in Marrakech on Monday. Former French Legion General Christian Piquemal was spotted at the protests wearing a yellow vest and giving a speech about illegal migration on the Champs-Elysées.
Piquemal was arrested in 2016 after taking part in a march organised by the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West (PEGIDA). The arrest of the highly respected former Foreign Legion leader was widely condemned at the time.
— Antoine Marette (@antoine_marette) December 8, 2018
So far there have been no major incidents of violence or property damage but shop and restaurant owners on the Champs-Elysées were seen in the early hours of the morning to have erected wooden barriers in an effort to prepare for more massive incidents of vandalism.
It’s 1am in Paris & people who own shops around the Champs Elysee are still working to board up their windows with wood & iron sheets. Protesters are prepping to voice their disgust against Macron’s authoritarian rule.
— Armani (@armani_salado) December 8, 2018
This story is developing…