[ PAGEE 58] [PAGES 60-61] [PAGE 62] [ PAGD E 59] Paris in lockdown
GWARDENINGE LETTERS TRIBUTES
LONDON: Theresa May wooed MPs with a promise of more power over the next stage of Brexit as she fought to save her EU withdrawal deal ahead of a crucial parliamentary vote next week.
The British Prime Minister said lawmakers could have a greater say over an arrangement to avoid border checks with Ireland that could see Britain tied to EU rules for years after it leaves the bloc in March. The so-called backstop is the key reason many of her Conservative MPs and her Northern Irish allies opposed the deal, putting her on course for defeat in Tuesday’s vote. PARIS: The Eiffel Tower, Louvre museum and scores of shops on the Champs-Elysees are set to close their doors as authorities warn of fresh violence across France today.
More nationwide riots are expected this weekend as part of the “yellow vest” protests that have ballooned into the biggest crisis of Emmanuel Macron’s presidency.
The Government is scram- bling to stave off another weekend of burned cars and running street battles by the protesters, who are furious over rising costs of living they blame on high taxes.
An interior ministry official said yesterday authorities were bracing for “significant violence”, based on indications that protesters on both the far right and far left were planning to converge on Paris.
Officials fear they could be joined by hooligans set on rioting and looting.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said 8000 police would be deployed in Paris alongside a dozen armoured vehicles, which have not been used in urban areas since the suburban youth riots in 2005.
Mr Philippe also reiterated his appeal for calm, saying in a prime-time TV interview that the Government was ready to consider “any measure which would allow us to boost spending power”.
Across the country, 89,000 police will be mobilised, up from 65,000 last weekend, when the country was rocked by scenes of unrest.
But so far the “yellow vest” movement shows no signs of losing steam, despite the Government’s rollback of planned fuel tax hikes for January, one of the group’s core demands.
Shops and businesses along and near the famous ChampsElysees have been told to keep their doors closed.
The Garnier and Bastille opera houses have cancelled performances today and the doors of major museums will be shut.
Six Ligue 1 football games have also been postponed.