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Paris tourist sites to close amid protest fears

IANS | Paris | Updated: 07-12-2018 17:20 IST | Created: 07-12-2018 17:20 IST
Tourist sites, including the Louvre Museum and the Eiffel Tower, in Paris will be closed over the weekend amid fears of further street violence due to "yellow vests" anti-government protests.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said the government was deploying 89,000 troops across France -- including 8,000 in the capital -- in case the demonstrations turn violent again, the BBC reported on Friday.

Many of the capital's famed sites -- including the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Musée Delacroix and the Paris Opera -- will close over the weekend in advance of the protests, organized by the "gilets jaunes" or "yellow vests" movement against rising gas prices and taxes on polluting forms of transport.

Philippe urged for calm but added: "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."

Four people have died, 630 people arrested and more than 260 injured in the unrest that have been continuing for the past three weekends. Officials said that the deaths were accidental as three of them resulted from traffic accidents related to the blockades.

The fourth death was of an 80-year-old woman who died in Marseille after being hit by a tear gas canister that came through her window.

The demonstrations started as a form of grassroots opposition to rising gas prices and planned increases in taxes on polluting forms of transport, but they have since evolved into broader demonstrations against the government of President Emmanuel Macron.

The police on Friday asked stores and restaurants along the Champs-Elysees and other major shopping streets to stay closed and to remove any outdoor items such as tables and chairs.

A series of football matches scheduled to be held on Saturday were postponed. They included those between Paris and Montpellier, Monaco and Nice, Toulouse and Lyon, and Saint-Etienne and Marseille, reports said.


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