Paris police have fired tear gas on a group of yellow-vested protesters trying to march on the French presidential palace and have pushed them back with shields.
Authorities said some 8,000 people were demonstrating in Paris, where 600 people had been searched and briefly arrested.
About 8,000 police will be deployed across Paris, equipped with a dozen barricade-busting armored vehicles that could be used for the first time in a French urban area since riots in 2005.
The "gilets jaunes" (yellow vest) movement sprang up in late October against increases in fuel taxes announced as part of President Emmanuel Macron's efforts to pay for clean energy initiatives.
Macron on Wednesday agreed to abandon the fuel tax hike, which aimed to wean France off fossil fuels and uphold the Paris climate agreement, but that hasn't defused the anger. Offshoot movements have emerged elsewhere, and yellow-vest protests were held Saturday in Belgium and the Netherlands.
"We can not take the risk when we know the threat", Riester told RTL.
Dozens of streets in central Paris were closed to traffic, while the Eiffel Tower and world-famous museums such as the Musee d'Orsay, the Centre Pompidou and the Louvre were closed.
"This movement has revealed how millions of French people live", said Jacline Mouraud, whose YouTube tirade in October over rising fuel prices propelled her to the fore of the revolt.
Protesters, using social media, have billed the weekend as "Act IV" in a dramatic challenge to Macron and his government's policies.
Police also fired water cannons at protesters in one of the capital's main shopping districts, not far from the flagship buildings of France's most famed department stores, Galeries Lafayette and Printemps, and near the Palais Garnier opera house.
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Authorities have detained 343 people on Saturday amid exceptional security measures.
Footage, which has sparked condemnation by politicians, shows the pupils on the ground as riot police yell orders at them.
Many accuse the former investment banker of being an arrogant "president of the rich" who is out of touch with the struggles of ordinary people in the provinces.
WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump on Saturday once again attacked the Paris agreement on fighting climate change, citing the ongoing protests in the French capital as proof that he was right to reject the pact.
Shops, museums, the Eiffel Tower and many metro stations were closed as much of the city-centre went on effective lockdown.
But the yellow vests, many of whom who have become increasingly radicalised, are holding out for more.
Defending the treatment of the children, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner aid: "Over the past few days, the students have been joined by about 100 hooded youths armed with clubs and incendiary devices and determined to pick a fight with police".
But his climbdown on fuel taxes - meant to help France transition to a greener economy - marks a major departure for a leader who had prided himself on not giving into street protests. "We know that the violent people are only strong because they hide themselves within the yellow vests, which hampers the security forces". Police removed any materials from the streets that could be used as weapons, especially at construction sites in high-risk areas.
Meanwhile, Macron seemingly has gone missing as his government tries to curb the chaos caused by his unpopular gas-tax plan.
The protesters began blocking roads, fuel depots and shopping centres around France on November 17 over soaring petrol prices that have hit people in the provinces who get around by auto.
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