- French authorities are bracing for further anti-government protests over the weekend. They are deploying thousands of security personnel across Paris and closing down the Eiffel Tower.
- The iconic tower, as well as the Louvre museum and shop fronts along the Champs-Elysees, will close as a precautionary measure.
- The riots of the past week are regarded as the worst in Paris since 1968 and have seen violent confrontations, national monuments damaged, and cars set on fire.
Authorities in Paris are bracing for further anti-government protests over the weekend by deploying thousands of security personnel to the area and closing down the city’s iconic Eiffel Tower.
The tower, as well as the Louvre museum and several shops along the Champs-Elysees, will close as a precautionary measure amid fears of continued rioting led by the French protest group “Des Gilets Jaunes,” or the “Yellow Vests.”
The Yellow Vests mobilized over rising gas prices mainly caused by a new tax on diesel fuel, which has lifted prices 16% in 2018. But the demonstrations have grown into a broader protest against the rising costs of living and general displeasure with President Emmanuel Macron’s government.
Thousands of protesters have joined in on the riots – the worst in Paris since 1968 – burning cars, smashing store-fronts, defacing national symbols, and clashing with police. Last week, police fired 12,000 canisters of tear gas and water cannons at protesters and arrested more than 400 people.
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced that 89,000 police officers will be deployed in the capital over the weekend. Local authorities held emergency meetings on Thursday in order to plan for the expected violence, AP reported.
The move to protect the city’s famous landmarks follows damage last week to the Arc de Triomphe monument.
On Wednesday, Macron agreed to abandon the controversial diesel tax, which was seen as a victory for the Yellow Vest movement. Still, protests are expected to continue as the group demands broader tax cuts and government aid.
An interior ministry official told AFP that authorities were ready for “significant violence” on Saturday as activists from both ends of the political spectrum expected to make their way through the capital.