Advert

France to deploy 89,000 security personnel ahead of Saturday protests

Eiffel Tower and Louvre to be closed

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said 89,000 members of the security forces would be deployed nationwide on Saturday, including 8,000 in Paris, where armoured vehicles will also be out on the streets.

"We are facing people who are not here to protest, but to smash and we want to have the means to not give them a free rein," Philippe told TF1 television's evening news programme on Thursday, revising an earlier figure of 65,000 forces.

Philippe said about 10 armoured vehicles belonging to the gendarmerie would also be used, the first time since 2005 when riots broke out in Paris' suburbs.

French authorities will close dozens of museums, tourism sites and shops on Saturday, including the Eiffel Tower and Louvre, fearing a recurrence of last week's violence in Paris, officials said on Thursday.

Protesters wearing yellow vests, the symbol of a French drivers' protest against higher diesel fuel prices, vote to elect a representative to liaise with other blockade points, in Aubevoye, FranceProtesters wearing yellow vests, the symbol of a French drivers' protest against higher diesel fuel prices, vote to elect a representative to liaise with other blockade points, in Aubevoye, France

"We cannot take the risk when we know the threat," Culture Minister Franck Riester told RTL radio, adding that far-right and far-left agitators were planning to hijack rallies by "yellow vest" protesters in Paris.

He said the Louvre museum, Orsay museum, the two operas, and the Grand Palais were among the sites that would be closed a week after rioters looted and defaced the Arc de Triomphe.

The Eiffel Tower will also be closed on Saturday due to the protests, the site's operator SETE said, warning that it could not ensure security for visitors.

With protesters calling on social media for "Act IV" - a fourth weekend of protest - Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said 65,000 police would be drafted in to stop a repeat of last Saturday's mayhem in Paris, when rioters torched cars and looted shops off the Champs Elysees boulevard.

At least four of the weekend's first division football matches have been cancelled.

Paris police asked dozens of shop and restaurant owners around the Champs Elysees and Bastille areas to close on Saturday and requested local authorities in 15 areas around the capital to remove anything in the streets that could be used as projectiles.

The government is also considering using troops currently deployed on anti-terrorism patrols to protect public buildings.

Comments not loading? We recommend using Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox with javascript turned on.
Comments powered by Disqus  
Advert
Advert