Demonstrators gather during a protest of Yellow Vests (Gilets jaunes) against rising oil prices and living costs on the Champs Elysees in Paris, Dec. 1, 2018. (Lucas Barioulet/AFP)
PARIS, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- Violence erupted early Saturday in a fresh demonstration by hundreds of French protesters angry at high fuel prices.
Wearing yellow vests, the demonstrators, who also want to draw attention to the stark contrast between wealthy Paris and the rural areas, descended on the Champs Elysees where 5,000 police officers have been deployed.
Video footage showed tear gas clouds rose into the air above L'Arc de Triomphe and the Place de L'Etoile where first clashes between police and protesters broke out at around 0800 GMT after a small group of "Yellow Vests" tried to break through security cordons.
Police responded with tear gas, stun grenades and water cannon to disperse the crowd that used barriers to form barricades in a renewed standoff that led to the arrest of 39 people, according to French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner.
French security officials had warned of renewed violence, saying there was a risk of violent groups of right and far-left plan to infiltrate the movement and cause trouble, as happened last Saturday.
A week ago, thousands of protesters flocked to the Champs Elysees where masked group smashed glass-fronted facades of boutiques lining the avenue and set barricades and a trailer on fire.
As risk of excess of violence remains high, the government reinforced security measures which included the installation of checkpoints to prevent thugs from reaching the Champs Elysees. The avenue is also closed for traffic while pedestrians and tourists could enter the boulevard after their identities and bags would be checked.
Created on social media, "Yellow Vests" protesters have blocked highways in many regions, obstructed access to fuel depots, shopping centers and some factories for the third week, in a show of force to make President Emmanuel Macron reconsider an increase on fuel tax that will be effective next month.