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France may impose emergency to contain worst civil unrest in decade

France may impose emergency to contain worst civil unrest in decade
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Paris: France will consider imposing a state of emergency to prevent a recurrence of some of the worst civil unrest in more than a decade and urged peaceful protesters to come to the negotiating table, government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux said on Sunday.

French President Emmanuel Macron is to hold a crisis meeting on Sunday after anti-government protests in Paris that left 133 people injured and a trail of destruction around the capital.

Macron is set to fly into Paris late Sunday morning after attending a G20 summit in Argentina and will meet the prime minister, interior minister and top security service officials at the presidential palace.

New figures released from the Paris police service showed that 412 people were arrested on Saturday during the worst clashes for years in the capital and 378 were still in custody.

A total of 133 had been injured, including 23 members of the security forces who battled rioters for most of the day in some of the most famous parts of the capital.

"I will never accept violence," Macron told a news conference in Buenos Aires before flying home.

"No cause justifies that authorities are attacked, that businesses are plundered, that passers-by or journalists are threatened or that the Arc du Triomphe is defiled," he said.

In a fresh incident on Sunday morning, a motorway pay booth was set on fire by arsonists in southern France near the city of Narbonne; a judicial source said.

The main north-south motorway in eastern France, the A6, was also blocked by protesters near the city of Lyon on Sunday morning, its operator said.

The capital was calm, however, but as groups of workers moved around cleaning up the mess from the previous day, the scale of the destruction became clear.

In famed areas around the Champs-Elysees, the Louvre Palace, the Opera or Place Vendome, smashed shop windows, broken glass and the occasional burned out car was a testament to the violence.

Dozens of cars were torched by the gangs of rioters, some of whom wore gas masks and ski goggles to lessen the effects of tear gas which was fired continually by police.

One person was in a critical condition after protesters pulled down one of the enormous iron gates of the Tuileries garden facing the Louvre museum, crushing several people.

Nearly 190 fires were put out, and six buildings were set alight, the interior ministry said.

At the Arc de Triomphe, a monument to France's war dead, graffiti had been daubed, saying: "The yellow vests will win." - What response? -

This was a reference to the so-called "yellow vest" anti-government protests that have swept France over the last fortnight, sparked initially by a rise in taxes on diesel.

The movement has since morphed into a broad opposition front to Macron, a 40-year-old pro-business centrist elected in May 2017.

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