Government calls for protesters to stay away from "Act IV" of a battle that began over fuel prices but ballooned into an anti-Macron revolt fell on deaf ears, with demonstrators making their way to Paris from across the country.
Earlier, TV images showed French protesters parading past the flagship stores of some of Paris's best-known luxury brands such as Mont Blanc and Cartier, all with their shutters tightly fastened on what would normally be a busy shopping day before Christmas.
The French capital experienced its worst riots in decades last weekend, in scenes that shook the country and plunged President Emmanuel Macron's government into its deepest crisis so far.
Amid heightened tensions, police seized 28 petrol bombs and three homemade explosive devices Friday at an area blockaded by protesters in Montauban in southern France, a spokesman for the Tarn-et-Garonne prefecture told CNN. French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on Tuesday postponed a proposed hike in the country's tax on gas and diesel fuel, meant to encourage more usage of electric vehicles, but it doesn't seem to have derailed the protests.
An estimated 31,000 people joined "yellow vest" anti-government protests across France on Saturday, deputy interior minister Laurent Nunez said, adding that 700 people had been detained.
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.
Jan Dijkgraaf, the editor of a Dutch "resistance newspaper" had called for peaceful protests in Amsterdam and Rotterdam. The national gendarme service posted a video on Twitter of police tackling a protester and confiscating his risky material, which appeared to be primarily a tennis racket.
French police arrest a man during a Yellow Vests demonstration.
Police barred some provincial "yellow vest" protesters from boarding trains to Paris in an effort to prevent a repeat of last week's rioting.
Now the demands of the "yellow vest" movement - named for the fluorescent safety vests that French motorists keep in their cars - are pressing for a wider range of benefits from the government to help French workers, retirees and students.
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The French government's plan was to prevent a repeat of the December 2 rioting that damaged the Arc de Triomphe, devastated central Paris and tarnished the country's global image.
Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the leader of the radical-left France Unbowed party, attended a climate rally in Bordeaux with members of the yellow vest movement.
"We are here to tell (Macron) our discontent".
The moves were dismissed by protesters - and Macron's political opponents - as too little, too late.
A smaller "yellow vest" demonstration of around 500 people also took place in the Belgian capital Brussels near the European Parliament, according to the newspaper Le Soir.
So far authorities have detained 343 people amid exceptional security.
Since the unrest began in November in response to a sharp increase in diesel fuel taxes, four people have been killed in protest-related accidents. Christmas markets, national soccer matches and countless other events have been canceled or hurt by the protests. Offshoot movements have emerged elsewhere, and yellow-vest protests are planned on Saturday in Belgium and the Netherlands.
Police removed any materials from the streets that could be used as weapons or projectiles during the demonstrations, including street furniture at outdoor cafes.
Trump's claims about the situation in France have little connection to what's actually going on in the French capital, and Kirk seems to have gotten his information from a viral video that was actually shot at another right-wing protest - in London.