Large plumes of smoke covered Paris' skyline on Saturday as "Gilets Jaunes" (Yellow Vest) protesters started bonfires in the street, smashed shop windows, and hurled cobblestones at riot police in the 18th consecutive weekend of anti-government protests.
A Banque Tarneaud branch spewed flames before firefighters arrived and rescued two people from the building, with eleven suffering minor injuries, the fire department said.
Smoke and tear gas shrouded the Champs-Elysées and at least 109 people were arrested in the worst outbreak of violence on the fringes of a "yellow vest" demonstration in Paris for several weeks.
Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said thugs looking for trouble had infiltrated the demonstrations and gave the order to respond to "unacceptable attacks with the greatest firmness". Last week's interior ministry estimates - regularly contested by the "yellow vest" movement - were 28,000 nationwide and 3,000 in Paris.
Protest organizers had hoped to make a splash Saturday, which marks the 4-month anniversary of the yellow vest movement, which started November 17, and the end of the "Great Debate" that the French president organized to respond to protesters' concerns about sinking living standards, stagnant wages and high unemployment.
Yellow Vest groups representing teachers, unemployed people and labour unions were among those that organised dozens of rallies and marches Saturday in the capital and around France.
This is just a tenth of the numbers that turned out for the inaugural protest on November 17.
Protesters have promised to draw bigger numbers to mark the fourth month since the movement erupted in mid November, over since-scrapped fuel tax hikes and the high cost of living.
Police tried to contain the protesters with tear gas and water cannon.
Named after the high visibility vests French drivers have to keep in their cars and worn by protesters, the revolt swelled into a broader movement against Macron and his reforms.
Around half a million people turned out at townhall-style meetings held around the country, but many "yellow-vest" protesters dismissed the consultation as a smokescreen.
Black-clad demonstrators encircled the square surrounding the arch, pelting the police with stones.
From early morning protesters began pouring into the capital by train and auto from around the country for what they called an "ultimatum" to Macron.
Over 5,000 police were deployed, along with several armoured police vehicles, and several metro stations were closed. The grassroots movement appears to be fizzling out but some are trying to ignite protestors again.
The organisers of Saturday's protest presented it as an "ultimatum" to Mr. Macron, prompting fears of a return to the violence that characterised earlier rallies.
"As long as we don't get any results, we will continue (to protest) for all we asked for: pay rises, pensions, purchasing power, food waste".
The protest was one of several planned in Paris on Saturday, where climate campaigners also gathered in their thousands to demand Macron go further on greening the economy.