Clashes erupted between police and protesters, who started a rally from Paris’ iconic Place de la Republique toward the city center, on Thursday night.
Protesters were chanting slogans against the lockdown, some launching fireworks, setting flares alight and overturning trash cans as they marched through Paris.
During the rally, demonstrators were met by a squad of riot police near the Center Pompidou, which fired tear gas at them.
Similar rallies were held across the country, including in the cities of Castres and Toulouse, where protesters were chanting “revolution” and “everyone hates confinement.”
The widespread protests follow President Emmanuel Macron’s announcement of a new round of restrictive measures this week.
The measures are set to come into effect on Friday and will last at least until December 1.
This comes as France is being “overrun by a second wave” of the virus, which he predicted would be “harder” and “more deadly than the first,” according to the government.
As of Friday, the country has reported 1,327,852 confirmed cases of COVID-19, along with 36,058 related deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University (JHU) data.
Just like the first national lockdown, people will be confined to their homes with the exception of those traveling for medical treatment and an allotted hour of daily exercise outdoors.
The government also ordered the shutdown of “non-essential” businesses for a period of two weeks.
Under the new rules, schools, however, will largely remain open around the country.
New lockdown measures have also sparked hundreds of miles of traffic jams across Paris as many residents are trying to leave the city.
Th scene of crowded roads and railways came as the World Health Organization (WHO) already warned that Europe has, once again, become the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic
“We are at the epicenter of this pandemic once again,” said WHO European regional director Hans Kluge. “At the risk of sounding alarmist, I must express our very real concern.”
The continent, according to WHO, accounted for almost half of the 2.8 million new cases of the viral infection reported worldwide last week.
Th coronavirus related deaths have increase 35% over the past week across Europe, according to Kluge.
“Hospitalizations have risen to levels unseen since the spring,” he said on Thursday.
The continent has now confirmed more than 10 million coronavirus cases and 250,000 deaths, he said.
The world has now recorded 45,028,250 cases of COVID-19, along with 1,181,075 fatalities, according to JHU data.