Police arrest protesters in Paris, turn others away

Police arrest protesters in Paris, turn others away

President Emmanuel Macron's government has warned that Saturday's "yellow vest" protests in Paris will be hijacked by "radicalized and rebellious" crowds and become the most unsafe yet after three weeks of demonstrations.

Authorities are deploying barricade-busting armored vehicles and 8,000 police in the capital alone; nationwide, some 89,000 security forces fanned out to deter or confront troublemakers expected at multiple protests.

Clad in their luminous road safety jackets, dozens of demonstrators - who accuse President Emmanuel Macron of only looking out for the rich - gathered at dawn on the Champs-Elysees, the scene last Saturday of the worst rioting in Paris for decades. The Nicolas wine chain, one of France's biggest retailers, canceled all its wine tasting sessions scheduled for Saturday.

A demonstrator wearing a yellow vest grimaces through tear gas Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 in Paris.

Mr Macron, who has not spoken in public since he condemned last Saturday's disturbances while at the G20 summit in Argentina, will address the nation early next week, his office said.

Meanwhile, an Al Arabiya reporter said that 10 people are injured amid clashes with police.

The Eiffel Tower announced on its Twitter account that it will remain closed on Saturday "due to the demonstrations that will be taking place in Paris".

Crowds of protesters first tried to march down the Champs-Élysées avenue toward the Élysées palace but were prevented by rows of police.

The climbdown over the fuel tax - meant to help France move to a greener economy - marks a major shift for Mr Macron, who has previously vowed not to be swayed, like previous presidents, by large street protests.

Paris police asked dozens of shop and restaurant owners around the Champs Elysees and Bastille areas to close on Saturday and requested local authorities in 15 areas around the capital to remove anything in the streets that could be used as projectiles.

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Some could be held in the city centre on what is a major Christmas shopping weekend.

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".

"We have prepared a robust response", Interior Minister Christophe Castaner told online news site Brut.

In a sign the concessions offered by the government may be starting to weaken support for the movement, two opinion polls showed a decline in popularity for the "yellow vests" on Friday. They oppose an education reform and have clashed with police at many high schools in several French cities.

Philippe on Friday evening met a delegation of self-described "moderate" yellow vests who urged people not to join the protests. But who exactly makes up the "yellow vest" movement, and will the government be able to quell their anger after a month of increasingly fiery protests?

Since the unrest began November 17 in response to a sharp increase in diesel taxes, four people have been killed in protest-related accidents.

"People do not want to pay large sums of money, much to third world countries (that are questionably run), in order to maybe protect the environment".

The national Federation of French markets said that Christmas markets have been "strongly impacted" and that its members registered "an average fall of their estimated figures between 30 and 40 percent since the beginning of the yellow vest movement".

Paris police, fearing that radical protesters could turn street furniture and construction materials into makeshift weapons, on Friday were removing all glass containers, railings and construction machines in high-risk areas.

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