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2018-12-02 — reuters.com

``Several thousand riot police were overwhelmed on Saturday as they fought running battles with protesters in the shadows of some of Paris' fabled landmarks and through its fanciest shopping districts. More than 400 people were arrested and more than 100 injured, shocking Parisians and tourists alike.

At the base of the 19th-century Arc de Triomphe, police kept the public back as cleanup crews set about erasing graffiti, much of it targeting President Emmanuel Macron and some exuding anarchist sentiment such as, "Overthrow the bourgeoisie!"

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Authorities were caught off-guard by the escalation in violence after two weeks of nationwide unrest against fuel taxes and high living costs, known as the "yellow vest" movement after the fluorescent jackets worn by the protesters.

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"We're already afraid of what's going to happen next week. The violence is escalating at an exponential rate," said Claude, a well-heeled woman who lives next to the Belle Armee brasserie that was set ablaze. "The state is losing control. They cannot let this happen. Maybe the army should intervene."

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The protests are taking a toll on the economy. On Saturday, boulevards that should have been packed with tourists and Christmas shoppers resembled battle zones, as smoke and tear gas hung in the air and debris littered the ground. Hotels and department stores in the capital stand to lose millions.

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