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Gilets jaunes protests in France: armoured vehicles to be deployed

The streets are cordoned off in anticipation of more violence
18:29, 7 December 2018

Protesters and police clash on the Champs-Élysées on 24 November. Photograph: Julien de Rosa
EPA / UPG

French security forces will deploy armoured vehicles in Paris on Saturday in anticipation of more violence by fringe elements of the gilets jaunes (yellow vests) movement. This was reported by Guardian agency.

A government official said 89,000 police and gendarmes would be mobilised across the country, 8,000 of them in the French capital, alongside a dozen VBRG armoured vehicles.

“We are facing people who are not there to demonstrate, but are there to smash things up and we want to make sure we’re not leaving them to do what they want,” Prime Minister Édouard Philippe said in an attempt to justify the use of the VBRG, which are capable of firing tear-gas grenades and clearing barricades and rarely used in city areas.

Paris went into lockdown on Friday, as the city prepared for a fourth weekend of protests. There was a sense of impending attack in the city centre as banks, shops, restaurants and businesses rushed to board up their premises to protect windows from looters.

Related: Ukrainian diaspora in London protests against Russian aggression in Sea of Azov

The preparations come after the city saw the worst street unrest in 50 years last Saturday as groups of casseurs (hooligans), confronted riot police, torched vehicles and looted shops.

As it was reported, the gilet jaunes movement started as a protest against a proposed rise in diesel and petrol tax, and takes its name from the yellow high-vis jackets that all motorists must by law carry in their cars. Protesters gathered on the Champs Elysées demanding from the French President to cancel plans to raise taxes on fuel, which from January 1 will lead to higher prices.

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