A German government spokesman said Monday that the street violence that rocked central Paris during weekend “yellow vest” protests was “terrifying”.

“The outbreak of violence and destructive rage in Paris this past weekend was terrifying,” said Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s spokesman Steffen Seibert.

“It has nothing to do with peaceful, democratic protests and the German government supports the French government in its efforts to guarantee public order.”

The famous Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris was hit by an arson and looting rampage by black-clad anarchists during a “yellow vest” protest Saturday.

Police appeared overwhelmed as demonstrators ran amok on the avenue, with retailers there saying some 80 shops and businesses were vandalised.

Police used tear gas, stun grenades and water cannon to repel protesters who gathered at the foot of the Arc de Triomphe war memorial, which had already been sacked on December 1.

It was the 18th consecutive weekend of demonstrations which began in mid-November as a protest against fuel price hikes but then morphed into a potent anti-government movement.