France has announced “exceptional” measures in response to planned demonstrations due to take place on Saturday, which could see a repetition of the street violence that took place last weekend in Paris. Major museums and landmarks, including the Louvre, Centre Pompidou, Grand Palais, and the Musée d’Orsay have announce they will close on Saturday, December 8, as thousands of “Gilets Jaunes” (yellow vest) protesters are expected on the city’s streets.
Monuments including the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe will be closed off. The latter suffered damage last Saturday as police clashed with demonstrators. The French government is reported to be deploying more than 89,000 police across the country amid fears of further violence.
Politicians, including the French prime minister Édouard Philippe, trade union leaders, and some yellow-vest leaders have appealed for calm. But a radical element appears not to have been appeased by the government scrapping a planned rise in fuel tax, which sparked the stunning protest movement, which has escalated quickly.
The highly visibility yellow jacket quickly became the symbol of the protest, which began in the countryside and in small towns. Students are reported to have joined what has become a general protest against president Emmanuel Macron and his government’s economic reforms, which opponents say favor big businesses and the rich.
Many businesses are boarding up their windows. Sotheby’s, Christie’s, and French auction house Artcurial were forced close last Saturday, as shop and restaurant windows on the Champs-Elysees were smashed and cars set alight by protesters battling police.
The Jeu de Paume photography museum, which suffered damaged last week, has announced that it will be shut due to the planned demonstrations. Also in the center of Paris, the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris will close, as will the Palais de Tokyo next door. On the edge of the city, the Fondation Louis Vuitton designed by Frank Gehry has announced that it will stay closed on Saturday, as has the Palace of Versailles.
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