Paris fears new protest, violence despite Pres. Macron’s retreat
PARIS — Paris police and store owners were bracing for new violence at protests Saturday, despite President Emmanuel Macron’s surrender over a fuel tax hike that unleashed weeks of unrest.
Police unions and local authorities were holding emergency meetings Thursday to strategize — while disparate groups of protesters were sharing plans on social networks and chat groups.
After the worst rioting in Paris in decades last weekend, many shops and restaurants in the center of the capital are expected to shut down on Saturday, fearing a repeat of the violence.
Macron on Wednesday agreed to abandon the fuel tax hike, but protesters’ demands have now expanded to other issues.
Protesting students were disrupting schools and universities on Thursday, and drivers were still blocking roads around France, now demanding broader tax cuts and government aid.
A small union representing police administrative personnel called for a strike on Saturday, which could further complicate security measures this weekend. Other police unions were not talking about strikes — but everyone has been worried about security risks in the face of a movement with no clear leaders whose protests are easily hijacked by troublemakers of all stripes.