YELLOW vest protesters started fighting each other as the violent demonstrations entered the 13th weekend.
Rival groups, who were supposed to be united in protest against president Emmanuel Macron’s government, were filmed battling each other in Lyon on Saturday.
‘A right-wing group of yellow vests attacked a left-wing one, and the result was carnage,’ said a protester who witnessed the violence.
‘They were using any weapons they could lay their hands on, and in the end the police had to break them up.’
About 55,000 protesters were involved in this week’s yellow vest demonstrations. In Paris, where 5,000 gathered, two police vehicles were set alight near the Eiffel Tower and a demonstrator lost four fingers trying to enter the National Assembly, France’s parliament.
Images show the man, who has not been named, being treated by medics shortly after police fired rubbed bullets at a mob trying to scale metal railings.
‘His hand was torn off following a blast — there was blood everywhere,’ a witness said.
‘Graffiti was being scrawled on the statues and walls around the parliament building, but nobody got over the railings.’ Police responded with baton charges and tear gas around the Champs Elysee after demonstrators threw stones at officers and vandals tried to smash shop windows. A total of 38 people were arrested.
‘Extremists wearing black balaclavas have infiltrated the crowds and are intent on violence,’ one officer said. Four armoured cars were on patrol.
Among the Paris crowd was Jerome Rodrigues, a leading protester who lost an eye after being hit by a fragment from a rubber bullet fired at him last month.
The yellow vest protests are named after the jackets motorists are obliged to carry in France. They first started demonstrating against a now scrapped fuel tax rise but have grown into a wider protest against Mr Macron, whose approval rating has struggled to get above 30 per cent after he was dubbed the ‘president of the rich’.