The Eiffel Tower and the Louvre museum 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.And at the height of the festive shopping season, many retailers have said they will remain shut for the day for fear they may be in the line of any unrest between protesters and police.
Many shop owners across the French capital are getting ready for the violence, setting up walls with carton boards to protect their windows. Meanwhile, the Nicolas wine chain, one of the biggest retailers in the country, canceled all its wine tasting sessions scheduled for Saturday.Across the country some 89,000 police will be mobilized, 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 Paris in decades. And authorities have also cancelled six French league soccer matches this weekend around the country.Since the unrest began on Nov. 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.
The images, filmed Thursday at Mantes-la-Jolie, showed a group of students on their knees with their hands behind their head. They are being watched over by armed police officers whose faces are hidden by ski masks.Interior minister Christophe Castaner said that 151 people were arrested in the small town, adding that some of them carried weapons. He said none of the students were injured.The rioting has also had an economic impact at the height of the holiday shopping season. Rampaging groups last weekend threw cobblestones through Paris storefronts and looted valuables in some of the city’s richest neighbourhoods.WATCH: French police clash with protesters in Paris
The National Federation of French markets said that Christmas markets have been “strongly impacted” and that its members registered “an average fall of their estimated figures between 30 and 40 per cent since the beginning of the movement of the yellow vests.”In addition to the closure of the Eiffel Tower, many shops and museums across France, including the Louvre, Orsay Museum and the Grand Palais, will keep their doors shut on Saturday for safety reasons.
“These vehicles can be very useful to protect buildings,” said Stanislas Gaudon, the head of police union Alliance. “And in case they set up barricades, we can quickly clear out the space and let our units progress.”
This is the armoured vehicle France will deploy to curb ‘Yellow Vest’ protests
French ambulance drivers protest against Macron’s reforms
French police clash with protesters in Paris
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