Macron pleads for calm as French authorities brace for more ‘yellow vest’ protests

By Elena Becatoros The Associated Press

French President Emmanuel Macron called Friday for calm as authorities prepared to deploy armored vehicles and thousands of security forces for a possible fifth-straight weekend of violent protests on the streets of Paris.

The “yellow vest” movement, which began its demonstrations Nov. 17 initially to protest an increase in fuel taxes, soon morphed into an expression of rage about the high cost of living in France and a sense that Macron’s government is detached from the everyday struggles of workers.

“Our country needs calm. It needs order. It needs to function normally again,” Macron said in Brussels, where he attended a European Union summit.

Later, he traveled to Strasbourg to express his condolences in the eastern French city where a gunman killed four people and wounded a dozen more after opening fire Tuesday near a Christmas market. The suspected attacker was killed Thursday in a shootout with police. Macron thanked some of the hundreds of security forces that had helped in the Strasbourg manhunt.

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