PARIS PROTESTS ‘CREATED A MONSTER’
French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said Friday that a three-week-old rebellion over taxes had spawned “a monster”, as Paris braces for further violent “yellow vest” protests this weekend.
On the eve of a fourth set of demonstrations in the capital in as many weeks, Castaner vowed “zero tolerance” towards those hoping to enact a repeat of last weekend’s destruction and mayhem.
“These past three weeks have seen the birth of a monster that has escaped its creators,” a grave-looking Castaner told a press conference.
“It’s time now for dialogue,” he urged.
Last Saturday’s riots in Paris, where the Arc de Triomphe war memorial was sacked, dozens of cars torched and shops looted, were the worst in decades, plunging President Emmanuel Macron’s government into a deep crisis.
Shops around the famous Champs-elysees boulevard, epicentre of last week’s battle between police and protesters were battening down the hatches on Friday.
The sound of hammers and power tools rang out along the Grande Armee avenue as shops boarded up windows and emptied their stock.
“We can’t take the risk,” said a manager at a Ducati motorcycle dealership, as employees loaded luxury Italian racers onto trucks for safekeeping.
Last week, the store was looted of 120,000 euros’ ($136,000) worth of merchandise.
Leading museums and landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Louvre and Musee d’orsay, have also said they will remain closed on Saturday.
The US embassy issued a warning to its citizens in Paris to “keep a low profile and avoid crowds”.
PARIS AFP DEC7, 2018
Three cars burn in bright orange flames as a masked protester wearing the signature yellow vest stands in front of them