Riot po­lice brac­ing for more vi­o­lence in Paris

‘Rad­i­cal­ized peo­ple’ ex­pected to join rally against tax hikes

The Dallas Morning News - - World - Sa­muel Pe­tre­quin and Sylvie Cor­bet,

PARIS — An­tic­i­pat­ing a fourth straight week­end of vi­o­lent protests, French au­thor­i­ties on Fri­day mo­bi­lized ar­mored ve­hi­cles and tens of thou­sands of po­lice, cor­doned off Paris’ broad boule­vards, and made plans to shut down tourist sites like the Eif­fel Tower and the Lou­vre.

The heavy se­cu­rity will put cen­tral Paris in a vir­tual lock­down Satur­day against what the in­te­rior min­is­ter called “rad­i­cal­ized and re­bel­lious peo­ple,” who au­thor­i­ties be­lieve will join mem­bers of the “yel­low vest” move­ment that has been hold­ing anti­govern­ment demon­stra­tions.

Na­tion­wide, 89,000 po­lice are ex­pected to fan out in the streets, an in­crease from 65,000 last week­end, when more than 130 peo­ple were in­jured and more than 400 ar­rested. The Paris protests de­gen­er­ated into the worst street vi­o­lence to hit the French cap­i­tal in decades.

Fear­ing in­creas­ing vi­o­lence, hun­dreds of busi­nesses planned to close Satur­day, pre­fer­ring to lose a key hol­i­day shop­ping day rather than have stores smashed and looted, as they were a week ago when protests over ris­ing taxes turned into a riot. Work­ers ham­mered ply­wood over the win­dows of shops and busi­nesses, mak­ing the plush Champs­el­y­sees neigh­bor­hood ap­pear to be brac­ing for a hur­ri­cane.

“Ac­cord­ing to the in­for­ma­tion we have, some rad­i­cal­ized and re­bel­lious peo­ple will try to get mo­bi­lized to­mor­row,” In­te­rior Min­is­ter Christophe Cas­taner said. “Some ul­tra­vi­o­lent peo­ple want to take part.”

Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron met Fri­day night with about 60 anti­riot se­cu­rity of­fi­cers who will be de­ployed in Paris. He made the unan­nounced visit to a fort in No­gent­sur­marne, east of Paris, and thanked the of­fi­cers for their work.

About 8,000 po­lice will be de­ployed across Paris, equipped with a dozen bar­ri­cade­bust­ing ar­mored ve­hi­cles that could be used for the first time in a French ur­ ban area since ri­ots in 2005.

The U.S. Em­bassy ad­vised Amer­i­cans to avoid the demon­stra­tions.

Po­lice re­moved any ma­te­ri­als from the streets that could be used as weapons, es­pe­cially in high­risk ar­eas. Those in­cluded the renowned Champs­el­y­sees, which would nor­mally be packed with tourists and shop­pers. “It’s with an im­mense sad­ness that we’ ll see our city par­tially brought to a halt, but your safety is our pri­or­ity,” Mayor Anne Hi­dalgo said. “Take care of Paris on Satur­day be­cause Paris be­longs to all the French peo­ple.”

Remy Ga­balda/agence France­presse

Stu­dents in Toulouse, France, staged a protest against ed­u­ca­tion re­forms Fri­day. In Paris, about 8,000 po­lice will be de­ployed Satur­day to pre­vent a riot like the one that rocked the city last week­end.

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