France braced for 'day of rage' protests

France braced for 'day of rage' protests

Amid heightened tensions, police seized 28 petrol bombs and three homemade explosive devices Friday at an area blockaded by protesters in Montauban in southern France, a spokesman for the Tarn-et-Garonne prefecture told CNN.

A ring of steel surrounded the Elysee Palace itself as police stationed trucks and reinforced steel barriers in streets throughout the neighbourhood.

Posts saying the video shows Parisian demonstrators began circulating after December 1, when the protests in paris became violent, the Associated Press reported.

More than 89,000 police are being deployed nationwide, an increase from 65,000 last weekend, when protests over rising taxes turned into a riot that left more than 130 people injured. Belgian police shot back with tear gas and water cannons.

Workers hammered plywood over the windows of shops and businesses, making the plush Champs-Elysees neighborhood appear to be bracing for a hurricane. Angry protesters on Saturday tried to rip the boards off.

In the Grands Boulevards shopping district, masked protesters threw rocks at riot police and set fire to a barricade hastily assembled from stolen dustbins and Christmas trees.

About 8,000 police officers were on the ground in Paris - almost twice as many as last week.

Demonstrators waving French flags and wearing the movement's signature high-visibility vests gathered before dawn on Saturday near the Arc de Triomphe, which was damaged in last week's rioting.

Parts of the city centre were on effective lockdown, with shops, museums, the Eiffel Tower and many metro stations closed. Subway stations in the city centre closed and the US embassy warned citizens to avoid all protest areas.

The unrest started in November, spurred by anger over Macron's controversial hike in gas taxes, which were meant to reduce the country's reliance on fossil fuels and to mitigate the effects of climate change in accordance with the Paris climate agreement.

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Police are searching people throughout central Paris and confiscating goggles and gas masks from journalists, who use them to protect against tear gas while covering demonstrations.

Some protesters Saturday attempted to block the Porte Maillot dual carriageway, which is a toll-free route into Paris.

Over the past few weeks, the social media movement has morphed from a protest over fuel prices to a leaderless spectrum of interest groups and differing demands.

Despite the climbdown, the "yellow vests" continue to demand more concessions from the government, including lower taxes, a higher minimum wage, lower energy costs, better retirement benefits and even Macron's resignation. Footage showing the brutal arrest of high school students protesting outside Paris is causing a stir ahead of further anti-government protests this weekend.

Rows of helmeted, thickly protected riot police blocked the demonstrators' passage down the Champs-Elysees avenue toward the heart of presidential power.

Police posted a video on Twitter of officers tackling a protester and confiscating his unsafe material, which appeared to be primarily a tennis racket.

But efforts to negotiate have gone nowhere, not least because the movement's purported leaders have largely declined invitations to talks - some because they were threatened by other "yellow vests".

After two weekends of violence in Paris that made the authorities look powerless to secure their capital, police went into overdrive Saturday to keep a lid on unrest.

"We can not take the risk when we know the threat", Culture Minister Franck Riester told RTL radio, according to Reuters. "Me, I'm not here to break things because I have four children so I am going to try to be safe for them, because they are afraid", protester Myriam Diaz told the AP.

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