Local demonstrations over fuel quickly morphed into a wider, national movement and the grievances also took on an anti-establishment, and particularly anti-Macron, character.
In the second week of protests on November 24, demonstrators from around the country descended on the capital Paris. Clashes broke out between demonstrators and police on the Champs-Elysees, leading to a number of arrests, and tear gas and water cannons were used on protesters. Similar scenes were witnessed a week later.
The French government initially responded by announcing (on December 4) that it was delaying the planned fuel tax. Just one day later, however, the government said that it was scrapping the tax rises altogether. But protesters were not placated and the unrest continued.
In fact, the protests became more violent and culminated on December 8 with scenes of street violence and damage to buildings, monuments and shops in Paris. Cars were trashed and set on fire, as were barricaded with wooden pallets. The Eiffel Tower and Louvre Museum were forced to close.
Armored vehicles and tens of thousands of riot police were deployed to the streets of Paris and across France for the protests, often resorting to deploying water cannons and tear gas. In total, France deployed 89,000 police and gendarmes (part of the armed forces) for December 8.
That day over 1,700 people were arrested across France (at least 920 of the arrests were in Paris) and 179 people were injured. After the events of December 8, Jacline Mouraud, credited with starting the Yellow Vest movement, denounced the violence and said the revolt had become like a "dog without a leash" and taken over by extremists.