Paris is bracing for further anti-government protests over the weekend by deploying thousands of security personnel to the area and closing down the city’s iconic Eiffel Tower.
The tower, as well as the Louvre museum and several shops along the Champs-Elysees, will close as a precautionary measure amid fears of continued rioting led by the French protest group “Des Gilets Jaunes,” or the “Yellow Vests.”
On Wednesday, Macron agreed to abandon the controversial diesel tax, which was seen as a victory for the Yellow Vest movement. Still, protests are expected to continue as the group demands broader tax cuts and government aid.
Business Insider reports that “The Yellow Vests mobilized over rising gas prices mainly caused by a new tax on diesel fuel, which has lifted prices 16% in 2018. But the demonstrations have grown into a broader protest against the rising costs of living and general displeasure with President Emmanuel Macron’s government.
Thousands of protesters have joined in on the riots — the worst in Paris since 1968— burning cars, smashing store-fronts, defacing national symbols, and clashing with police. Last week, police fired 12,000 canisters of tear gas and water cannons at protesters and arrested more than 400 people.
The running clashes have left four people dead, including an elderly woman who was struck by a tear gas canister as she was closing her window in Marseilles, and hundreds more injured.
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced that 89,000 police officers will be deployed in the capital over the weekend. Local authorities held emergency meetings on Thursday in order to plan for the expected violence, AP reported.