France bans ‘yellow vest’ protests on Paris Champs-Elysees and key sites
(DW) – After the most violent scenes of the ‘gilets jaunes’ protests last weekend, police are closing off some key areas this weekend. Redeployment of soldiers to free up police for public order roles has also caused concern.
The Paris prefect’s office said that protesters will be prevented from marching on to the Champs-Elysees from the streets surrounding the Arc de Triomphe, at the top of the avenue and several nearby areas including the president’s Elysee Palace and the National Assembly.
“There are serious reasons to believe that violence and damage are likely during the scheduled demonstrations,” the prefect’s office said in a statement on Friday.
Last weekend, fires were set on the Champs-Elysees damaging newspaper kiosks, shops and the famous Fouquet restaurant, which will be closed for repairs for several weeks.
There will be similar bans in other major cities such as Marseille, Toulouse and Nice, where President Emmanuel Macron is due to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday.
If there are rallies on Saturday, it would be the 19th weekend in a row they have taken place. Anyone defying the bans would face fines. Speaking on Thursday, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner demanded a “zero tolerance” police approach towards violent protesters.