Newstalk
Newstalk

20.59 6 Dec 2018


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Major security measures are being put in place in Paris as the French government prepares for further major protests.

Recent weeks have seen tens of thousands of demonstrators - dubbed 'Les Gilets Jaunes' or 'yellow vests' due to their high-vis jackets - take to the streets in protest over planned fuel tax hikes by Emmanuel Macron's government.

While the demonstrations have largely been peaceful, there were violent scenes last weekend as police clashed with some demonstrators.

Riot police fired tear gas, stun grenades and water cannon at protesters in central Paris, and at least 133 people were injured.

The government has since announced a suspension of the tax hike for six months in response to the increasingly tense situation, but protesters have pledged to continue their demonstrations.

Today, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe told senators that 65,000 security officers will be deployed around the country this weekend - along with 'exceptional' extra security measures.

Both the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre museum - two of the world's most famous tourist spots - will close on Saturday over the expected demonstrations.

Local media reports that some museums, theatres, libraries and shops (including several along the famed Champs-Elysees) will also shut, while some major French football matches and other events have also been postponed.

The actions and policies of President Emmanuel Macron - who swept into office last year on the pledge to make France more competitive - have been the source of much of the demonstrators' frustration and anger in recent weeks.

Earlier this week, he thanked police and emergency services for their work last weekend.

However, the French leader has been largely silent since then as the country prepares for another weekend of protests and possible violence.

Meanwhile, there were tense scenes in Marseille, Yvelines and other areas of the country today as student protesters unhappy with education reforms clashed with security forces.


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