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Paris climate march halted amid clashes between activists and police

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  • France yellow vest protests
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image captionActivists run through clouds of tear gas

A peaceful climate march in Paris has been halted after it was infiltrated by other protest groups.

Groups of anarchist demonstrators joined in, breaking windows and setting fire to street barricades.

Families abandoned the march as violent clashes prompted French police, who have previously been accused of excessive violence, to fire tear gas and make over 100 arrests.

A huge security operation involved 7,000 police officers.

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image captionThe march was intended to be festive, family-friendly and peaceful

The climate change march and a protest against pension reform were both authorised, while other demonstrations - including one by the 'yellow vest' anti-government group - went ahead illegally.

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Much of the violence and vandalism was attributed to the so-called black bloc anarchist group, who wore black scarves, sunglasses and hoods to cover their faces.

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image captionYellow vest protesters wore black, abandoning the trademark hi-vis vests

The gilets jaunes (yellow vest) movement was sparked ten months ago by a hike in fuel prices and evolved into weekly anti-government protests that continued well into the spring.

Most of those protesting on Saturday did not wear the trademark fluorescent jackets, so they could avoid standing out.

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image captionPolice have previously been accused of violence in their response to the yellow vest movement

As the violence worsened, police used tear gas to disperse groups of protesters.

A video posted on Twitter shows climate change protesters covering their mouths as tear gas from further afield was carried to them by the wind.

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image captionA lot of anger was targeted at President Macron from both sides of the protest

Greenpeace told climate change protesters to abandon the march as conditions were not appropriate for a non-violent protest.

media captionDramatic footage shows a police crackdown on Paris yellow vest protesters
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image captionViolent protesters caused havoc on the streets

One of Saturday's protesters told French media outlet Le Monde that they continued to protest because of "injustice" but said they were worried about the "bad image" of the yellow vests.

"I am not a thug," the protester insisted.

The yellow vest protests, which lost momentum over the summer, were often marred by violence, some of which was blamed on the black blocs.

The protests earlier this year prompted Mr Macron to introduce reforms including tax cuts and a more decentralised government.

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image captionPolice were heavily decked out in riot gear

Saturday's protests interfered with France's annual Heritage Day, when well-known sites open their doors to the public.

On Friday, President Macron said it was good that that people could express themselves but asked that the protests proceeded in a "calm" manner.

He has not yet commented on Saturday's events.

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image captionA protester suffering the after-effects of tear gas is assisted by a journalist
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image captionThe climate change protest started with a very different atmosphere

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