A convoy protesting COVID-19 restrictions breached police defences and drove into central Paris on Saturday, snarling traffic around the Arc de Triomphe and on the Champs Elysees, as police fired tear gas at demonstrators, Trend reports citing Reuters.
Protesters in cars, campervans, tractors and other vehicles had converged on Paris from Lille, Perpignan, Nice and other cities late on Friday, despite warnings from Paris authorities that they would be barred from entering the capital.
Inspired by horn-blaring "Freedom Convoy" demonstrations in Canada, dozens of vehicles slipped through the police cordon, impeding traffic around the 19th century arch and the top of the boutique-lined Champs Elysees, a magnet for tourists.
Inside the city's limits, motorists in the "Freedom Convoy" waved tricolour flags and honked in defiance of the police ban.
On the Champs Elysees, clouds of tear gas swirled through the terraces of bars and restaurants.
Riot police also threw tear gas grenades to keep order at an authorised street protest where demonstrators, including some "Yellow Vests" railed against President Emmanuel Macron's coronavirus vaccine pass rules and the cost of living.
On the Champs Elysees, police used tear gas into the evening as sporadic scuffles continued and one person who collapsed on the sidewalk was brought to hospital for checks, police said.
France requires people to show proof of vaccination to enter public places such as cafes, restaurants and museums, with a negative test no longer being sufficient for unvaccinated people.