WORLD Paris in lock­down

France braces for more vi­o­lence in protests over pres­i­dency

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - WORLD -

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 which have bal­looned into the big­gest cri­sis of Em­manuel Macron’s pres­i­dency.

The gov­ern­ment is scram­bling 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 yesterday said 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 some 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 on Satur­day and the doors of ma­jor mu­se­ums will be shut.

Six Ligue 1 foot­ball games have also been post­poned.

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