A map produced by the French convoy organizers showed a plan for protesters to come across the country along five main routes toward the city. It also highlights the demonstrators’ plans to then drive north to Brussels, Belgium’s capital.
The protesters largely blocked traffic on Saturday around the Arc de Triomphe junction, and were waving French flags from their trucks and cars.
The Arc de Triomphe is a common entry point into central Paris at the end of the famous Champs-Élysées avenue. Motorcycles and small cars were still managing to get through the traffic, and a unit of riot police moved to disperse protesters.
Paris police said in a statement on Twitter that “no blocking will be tolerated” and officers are also currently working “to disperse participants of banned protests” near the Champs-Élysées.
Police said they had already intercepted 500 vehicles as of Saturday morning. Many were intercepted at checkpoints at various entry points to Paris and also on the Champs-Élysées, police said on Twitter. Five people have been arrested and had equipment seized, with fines given for carrying slingshots and protective equipment.
Canada’s “Freedom Convoy” began at the end of January in Ottawa as an objection to a vaccine mandate requiring truckers entering the country to either be fully vaccinated or face testing and quarantine requirements. Other protesters then joined to rail against mask mandates, lockdowns, restrictions on gatherings and other Covid-19 preventative measures.
CNN’s Jeevan Ravindran contributed to this report.