Eiffel Tower, Louvre shut down as France braces for new riots

chicagotribune.com | 12/9/2018 | Staff
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Anticipating a fourth straight weekend of violent protests, France on Friday mobilized armored vehicles and thousands of police, cordoned off Paris' broad boulevards and made plans to shut down tourist sites like the Eiffel Tower and 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 anti-government demonstrations.

Nationwide - Police - Streets - Increase - Weekend

Nationwide, about 89,000 police will fan out in the streets, an increase from 65,000 last weekend, when more than 130 people were injured and over 400 arrested as the 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, like 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 Champs-Elysees neighborhood appear to be bracing for a hurricane.

Information - People - Tomorrow - Interior - Minister

"According to the information we have, some radicalized and rebellious people will try to get mobilized tomorrow," Interior Minister Christophe Castaner told a news conference. "Some ultra-violent people want to take part."

President Emmanuel Macron met Friday night with about 60 anti-riot security officers who will be deployed in Paris. He made the unannounced visit, without the press, to a fort used as military accommodation in Nogent-sur-Marne, east of Paris, and thanked the officers for their work.

Police - Paris - Dozen - Barricade-busting - Vehicles

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

"These vehicles can be very useful to protect buildings," said Stanislas Gaudon, head of the Alliance police...
(Excerpt) Read more at: chicagotribune.com
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