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Paris Locked Down Amid Riot Fears

Eiffel Tower, other sites will be closed
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 7, 2018 5:46 AM CST
Paris Locked Down Amid Riot Fears
A demonstrator stands in front of a makeshift barricade set up by the so-called yellow jackets to block the entrance of a fuel depot in Le Mans, western France, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2018,   (AP Photo/David Vincent)

(Newser) – Saturday might not be the best time to take in the sights of Paris: Authorities, fearing a repeat of last week's violent protests, are closing major tourist sites including major museums and the Eiffel Tower, the BBC reports. Thousands of anti-government "gilets jaunes"—"yellow jacket"—protesters took to the streets of the capital and other French cities last weekend in some of the worst unrest the country has seen in 50 years. Prime Minister Edouard Philippe says 89,000 police officers will be mobilized around the country and armored vehicles will be deployed in Paris, where cars were burned and stores were looted during last week's riots.

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"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," Philippe says. Authorities, warning that "significant violence" is expected from "radical and rebellious people," have urged stores and restaurants along the Champs-Elysees and other major streets to close—and told them to take items like tables and chairs inside. Authorities are also removing items like railings and construction site materials from 14 high-risk districts in Paris to deprive protesters of potential weapons, the AP reports. (France has done a U-turn on the fuel tax hike that first sparked the protests.)

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