Shops, restaurants and museums to shut ahead of fresh riots
Paris police have urged shops and restaurants on the Champs-Elysees to close ahead of new protests against embattled president Emmanuel Macron.
A dozen museums have announced weekend closures following vandalism and clashes with police during the “yellow vest” riots last week.
Shops, restaurants and other businesses are expected to shut on the famous avenue during one of the busiest shopping periods of the year before Christmas.
Authorities warned that another wave of “great violence” and rioting could be unleashed in the French capital despite Mr Macron’s surrender over a fuel tax hike.
The Paris Opera has cancelled planned performances at two sites in the city, and two theatres also plan to close.
The Arc de Triomphe remains closed since last weekend’s protest damaged the monument, while two music festivals have also been postponed.
The Louvre Museum and the Eiffel Tower still plan to remain open.
Many stores were smashed and looted during the capital’s worst rioting in decades, which saw more than 130 people injured and 412 people arrested.
Tear gas, stun grenades and water cannon were used and cars were torched, while rocks were hurled at police as protesters rampaged in the streets around the capital’s tourist landmarks.
Mr Macron is promising “exceptional” security measures for the planned protests amid fears that radicals and troublemakers will take advantage to seed chaos.
Nationwide, 89,000 security force members will be deployed – 8,000 of them in Paris.
Speaking Thursday to lawmakers, the France’s prime minister Edouard Philippe said the government is taking “all measures necessary” to secure the protests.
Mr Philippe urged “yellow vest” protesters to stay home for their own protection from those who could hijack the rallies.
The protests started around three weeks ago as a response to green taxes on diesel that have pushed up the cost for many drivers, with another hike due next month.
On Wednesday, Mr Macron agreed to abandon the fuel tax hike.
However people are now taking to the streets in cities across the country over the general rise in the cost of living and a feeling that the president is out of touch with normal people.
Mr Philippe acknowledged that government’s dramatic concession over fuel tax rise “doesn’t respond” to all the protester’s concerns.
Earlier this week, finance minister Bruno Le Maire said shops and restaurants reported takings down between 20% and 50% – with the Christmas shopping surge in Paris feared “lost”.
A manager of the Alsace brasserie on the Champs Elysees told Le Parisien he had lost €50,000 (£44,508) on Saturday after evacuating customers through a back door and closing for the day.
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