DOZENS of people have been arrested after protesters angry about the fuel tax clashed with French police for a third straight weekend.

Pockets of demonstrators built barricades in the middle of streets in central Paris, lit fires and threw rocks at officers on Saturday.

Protesters, including some wearing black hoodies, piled up large plywood planks and other material in the middle of a street near the Arc de Triomphe, before setting the debris on fire.

Police fired tear gas and used water cannons to try to push back the protesters who gathered around the Arc. Some demonstrators responded by throwing large rocks.

French deputy interior minister Laurent Nunez said that 3000 “troublemakers” were around the Champs-Elysees avenue, outside a perimeter secured by police.

Paris police said at least 81 people have been arrested. Nunez said 5000 officers were deployed in Paris to try to contain the protests. French prime minister Edouard Philippe said some protesters have attacked officers.