Eif­fel Tower to be closed as Paris gears up for more protests

Hindustan Times (Ranchi) - - World - As­so­ci­ated Press let­[email protected]­dus­tan­times.com ■

PARIS: The Eif­fel Tower in Paris will be closed on Satur­day as French au­thor­i­ties tighten se­cu­rity to pre­vent an­other out­break of vi­o­lence fol­low­ing three weeks of anti-gov­ern­ment protests.

In ad­di­tion to the 8,000 po­lice forces that will be de­ployed in the French cap­i­tal, the Paris po­lice pre­fect has iden­ti­fied 14 high-risk sec­tors that will be cleared out.

Fear­ing protesters could tar­get street fur­ni­ture or con­struc­tion sites, Paris po­lice will re­move all the glass con­tain­ers, rail­ings and build­ing ma­chines set up in the iden­ti­fied sec­tors which in­clude the world-renowned and glitzy Champs-El­y­sees av­enue.

Across the coun­try some 89,000 po­lice will be mo­bilised, up from 65,000 last week­end when more than 130 peo­ple were in­jured and over 400 were ar­rested in the worst street vi­o­lence seen in the coun­try in decades. And au­thor­i­ties have also can­celled six French league soc­cer matches this week­end around the coun­try.

Since the un­rest be­gan on Nov. 17 in re­ac­tion to a sharp in­crease in diesel taxes, four peo­ple have been killed in ac­ci­dents.

The protesters are col­lec­tively re­ferred to as the “yel­low vest” move­ment, in ref­er­ence to the flu­o­res­cent safety out­fit French mo­torists keep in their cars.

Amid the un­rest, some of the protesters, French union of­fi­cials and prom­i­nent politi­cians across the po­lit­i­cal spec­trum have urged calm es­pe­cially as French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron agreed to aban­don the fuel tax hike that trig­gered the move­ment.

How­ever, protesters’ de­mands have now ex­panded to other is­sues hurt­ing French work­ers, re­tirees and stu­dents.

The ri­ot­ing has also had an eco­nomic im­pact at the height of the hol­i­day shop­ping sea­son. Ram­pag­ing groups last week­end threw cob­ble­stones through Paris store­fronts and looted valu­ables in some of the city’s rich­est neigh­bour­hoods.

The na­tional Fed­er­a­tion of French mar­kets said Fri­day that Christ­mas mar­kets have been “strongly im­pacted” and that its mem­bers reg­is­tered “an av­er­age fall of their es­ti­mated fig­ures be­tween 30 and 40 per­cent since the be­gin­ning of the move­ment of the yel­low vests.”

Many shops and mu­se­ums across France, in­clud­ing the Or­say Mu­seum, will keep their doors shut on Satur­day.

AFP

■ File photo of the Eif­fel Tower in Paris.

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