The “Yellow Vest” citizen demonstrations are continuing in Paris, a French ministry building was broken into, and a government spokesman was evacuated from his office.

Benjamin Griveaux said he and his team had had to escape through a back door after a construction vehicle was used to ram the building’s entrance.

There were clashes between police and protesters on what was the first protest of the new year.

President Emmanuel Macron condemned the violence, urging “debate and dialogue”.

What began as a protest about a fuel tax back in November has escalated into widespread anger at rising living costs.

There is still no indication that the protesters are clamoring for more climate change regulations.

The latest “Yellow Vest” marches began peacefully enough. However, it devolved into violence and chaos.

Officers fired tear gas to prevent protesters crossing the river and reaching the National Assembly. One riverboat restaurant was set ablaze and a policeman was wounded when he was hit by a bicycle hurled from a street above the river bank.

Two months after they started blocking roads, occupying highway tollbooths and staging sometimes-violent street protests in Paris, the yellow vests wanted to inject new momentum into a movement that weakened over the holidays.

Macron’s government, shaken by the unrest, had this week hardened its stance, branding the protesters agitators seeking to overthrow the government.

One of the leaders of the “yellow vest” demonstrations was detained by police.

Eric Drouet – who already faces a trial for carrying a weapon at a previous protest – was held while heading for the Champs-Elysees, which has been the scene of violent clashes over the last month.

…A few dozen demonstrators had gathered outside a McDonald’s restaurant near France’s famous Arc de Triomphe war monument and had been waiting for Drouet to arrive early Wednesday evening.

Drouet, a truck driver who appears on television as a spokesman for the “yellow vests”, had called for the demonstration in a video posted on his Facebook page.

I will simply point out that the American media is covering the use of tear gas on the protesters without making it seem like the French police were villains.