Anti-government protesters hurled rocks and paving slabs at police, looted boutiques, smashed up a luxury restaurant on Paris’s famed Champs-Elysées and set a bank on fire on Saturday.
A mother and her baby trapped on the second floor of the building, as flames surged up from the bank branch on the ground floor, were rescued by firefighters. The bank offices were gutted and 11 people were slightly injured, including two police officers.
Smoke and tear gas shrouded the Champs-Elysées and at least 109 people were arrested in the worst outbreak of violence on the fringes of a “yellow vest” demonstration in Paris for several weeks.
Christophe Castaner, the interior minister, tweeted that those who set the bank on fire “are neither demonstrators nor troublemakers: they are killers.”
Grinning “yellow vest” protesters posed for photographs in front of the shattered facade of Le Fouquet’s, a restaurant that earned Nicolas Sarkozy the nickname of “President Bling-bling” when he celebrated his 2007 election victory there.