Protesters march through Paris amid fears of new violence

08 December, 2018, 20:41 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • French troops deployed in Paris amid ‘yellow vest’ protest

Workers carry a wooden piece to protect shop windows on the Champs-Elysees avenue, Friday, Dec. 7, 2018 in Paris.

Shops, museums, metro stations and the Tour Eiffel were due to close, while top-flight football matches and music shows were cancelled.

UPDATE: 10:10 am EST: French newspaper Le Figaro reports that a journalist has been wounded by a Yellow Vest protestor and has claimed that violence toward journalists by the protestors is much more intense than at previous weeks events.

Police used pepper spray and scuffled with a small group of protesters who tried to break through their barricade blocking access to the European Parliament and the European Union's other main institutions.

Government officials are concerned a repeat of last week's violence would weaken the economy and raise doubts about the government's survival.

Macron's government had warned that the yellow vest protests had created a "monster" and that the Paris actions would be hijacked by radicalized and rebellious crowds and become the most unsafe yet after three weeks of demonstrations. "We know that the violent people are only strong because they hide themselves within the yellow vests, which hampers the security forces". The demonstrators are protesting France's high cost of living. French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on Tuesday postponed a proposed hike in the country's tax on gas and diesel fuel, meant to encourage more usage of electric vehicles, but it doesn't seem to have derailed the protests.

Hundreds of police officers are being mobilized in Brussels Saturday, where yellow vest protesters last week clashed with police and torched two police vehicles.

Some could be held in the city centre on what is a major Christmas shopping weekend.

The Eiffel Tower and other tourist landmarks were shut, shops were boarded up to avoid looting and street furniture removed to avoid metal bars from being used as projectiles.

Foreign governments are watching developments closely in one of the world's most visited cities.

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One of them, Eric Drouet, a truck driver, called on protesters to storm into the Elysee presidential palace.

In a warning of impending violence, an MP for Macron's party, Benoit Potterie, received a bullet in the mail on Friday with the words: "Next time it will be between your eyes".

Macron's government had warned that the yellow vest protests had created a "monster" and that Saturday's protests would be hijacked by radicalized and rebellious crowds.

The Élysée Palace, seat of President Emmanuel Macron, announced to French media they are expecting "great violence" on Saturday as Yellow Vest protestors have announced "Act IV" of their almost four-week-long protest against the Macron regime that was initially sparked by a rise in fuel taxes, franceinfo reports.

On Tuesday Philippe announced the government was suspending planned increases to fuel taxes for at least six months to help defuse weeks of protests, the first U-turn by Macron since he came to power 18 months ago. Hundreds of protesters, including the movement's leader, were detained during the demonstrations.

They argue the president is out of touch with ordinary people and many are calling on him to resign.

In France, President Emmanuel Macron's climate credibility has earned mixed reviews since his election past year - despite the "Champion of the Earth" prize the United Nations awarded him in September.

The climbdown on higher fuel taxes - which were meant to help France transition to a greener economy - marked a major departure for the centrist president.

Macron, who has not spoken in public since he condemned last Saturday's disturbances while at the G20 summit in Argentina, will address the nation early next week, his office said.

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