Paris on security alert for weekend of anti-government protest
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 ChampsElysees 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 dec- ades. And authorities have also cancelled six French league football matches this weekend around the country.
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 motor- ists 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, retired people and students.