Eif­fel Tower to close as a pre­cau­tion as Paris po­lice ex­pect more violent protests

The Herald - - INTERNATIONAL -

THE Eif­fel Tower in Paris will be closed to­day as French au­thor­i­ties tighten se­cu­rity to pre­vent an­other out­break of vi­o­lence fol­low­ing three weeks of antigov­ern­ment protests.

In ad­di­tion to 8,000 po­lice de­ployed in the 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 in­clud­ing on the Champs-el­y­sees.

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. Six French league foot­ball matches this week­end around the coun­try have also been can­celled.

Since the un­rest be­gan on Novem­ber 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 rise.

How­ever, pro­test­ers’ de­mands have now ex­panded to other is­sues hit­ting work­ers, re­tired peo­ple 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 shop win­dows and looted valu­ables in some of the city’s rich­est neigh­bour­hoods.

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

Many shops and mu­se­ums across France, in­clud­ing the Or­say Mu­seum and the Grand Palais, will stay shut.

„ Work­ers board up shop win­dows in Paris.

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