A car, motorbikes and multiple barricades were ablaze in eastern Paris Saturday as a yellow vest protest degenerated into scattered violence. The smell of tear gas mixed with black smoke choked the air.
Paris firefighters battled multiple small but impressive fires around the Place de la Republique. Reporters saw a car and motorbikes on fire and multiple volleys of tear gas and dispersion grenades, as riot police worked to control the crowd. Several protesters also set flares.
Saturday's yellow vest actions overall, however, have been peaceful.
The Paris police headquarters said authorities detained 126 people by early afternoon and carried out spot checks of more than 11,000 people trying to enter the capital for Saturday's protests.
The protesters are angry at high taxes and economic injustice. Many protesters were deeply saddened by the recent fire at Notre Dame Cathedral, but at the same time they are angry at thethat poured in from tycoons while their own demands remain largely unmet and they struggle to make ends meet.
Anti-rich messages have flourished on social media in recent days as yellow vest protesters exhorted wealthy donors to be more generous with France's underclass.
Some visitors showed solidarity with the yellow vest cause.
"I am not interested in joining them, but I can understand what they're angry about," said Antonio Costes, a retiree from the Paris suburb of Montreuil who came Saturday to see the damage to Notre Dame. "There is a lot of injustice."
Paul Harlow, of Kansas City, Missouri, looked sadly at the damaged Notre Dame, saying, "Paris is very difficult right now."
He and his wife Susan are in Paris only for a few days, and didn't make it in time to see the cathedral -- and their efforts to visit museums Saturday were derailed by closed subways and barricaded roads.