France fears more riots, deploys over 65,000 security forces
PARIS (AP) — France will deploy more than 65,000 security forces amid fears of new rioting at protests Saturday in Paris and around the nation, despite President Emmanuel Macron’s surrender over a fuel tax hike that unleashed weeks of unrest.
Police unions and local authorities held emergency meetings Thursday to strategise on how to handle the weekend protests, while disparate groups of protesters did the same thing, sharing their plans on social networks and chat groups.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe told senators Thursday that the government will deploy “exceptional” security measures for the protests in Paris and elsewhere, with additional new forces on top of the 65,000 security officers already in place.
Some “yellow vest” protesters, members of France’s leading unions and prominent politicians across the political spectrum called for calm Thursday after the worst rioting in Paris in decades last weekend.
Many shops and restaurants in the centre of Paris plan to shut down Saturday, fearing a repeat of the violence.
Macron on Wednesday agreed to abandon the fuel tax hike, part of his plans to combat global warming, but protesters’ demands have now expanded to other issues hurting French workers, retirees, and students.
In a move questioned by both critics and supporters, the president himself has disappeared from public view.