Protesters march through Paris amid fears of new violence

Protesters march through Paris amid fears of new violence

Pedestrians walk past wood panels protecting the "Cafe de la Paix" on the eve of a "yellow vests" protest in Paris, France, December 7, 2018.

Large parts of Paris are in lockdown and many tourist attractions, museums, major department stores and metro stations shut as the capital braces for possible violence and rioting from a fringe element of the protest movement.

About 89,000 police were deployed across the country with 8,000 in Paris.

Crowds of yellow-vested protesters angry at President Emmanuel Macron and France's high taxes tried to converge on the presidential palace Saturday, some scuffling with police firing tear gas, amid exceptional security measures aimed at preventing a repeat of last week's rioting.

Macron's "cardinal sin", in the eyes of the protesters, was slashing wealth taxes shortly after taking office.

About 100 have been detained, many for possessing risky objects like fireworks or wearing clothing that could be used as protection in clashes with police.

Macron's government had warned that the yellow vest protests had created a "monster" and that the Paris actions would be hijacked by radicalized and rebellious crowds and become the most unsafe yet after three weeks of demonstrations. "I hope he will speak to the people of France as a father, with love and respect and that he will take strong decisions", he said.

French President Emmanuel Macron agreed late Wednesday to abandon the fuel tax hike that triggered the movement, but their anger at his government has not abated.

Despite the climbdown, the "yellow vests" continue to demand more concessions from the Government, including lower taxes, higher salaries, cheaper energy costs, better retirement provisions and even Mr Macron's resignation.

Six people killed in Italian nightclub stampede
Three girls, two boys and a mother who had accompanied her child to the event, died in the incident. La Repubblica newspaper quoted a survivor as saying that at least one of the exits was blocked.

French high school students take to the streets.

An expected 8,000 police officers will be dispatched in the capital to counteract the potential "small minority" who have been "radicalized and fallen into violence and hate", the Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said at a press conference on Friday.

The US embassy issued a warning to Americans in Paris to "keep a low profile and avoid crowds", while Belgium, Portugal and the Czech Republic advised citizens to postpone any planned visits.

Since the unrest began on November 17 in reaction to a sharp increase in diesel taxes, four people have been killed in violence related to the protests.

Meanwhile, Macron seemingly has gone missing as his government tries to curb the chaos caused by his unpopular gas-tax plan. In response, "Macron, resign!" has become the main slogan of the "yellow vest" demonstrators.

Authorities also have canceled six French league soccer matches around the country. Rampaging groups last weekend threw cobblestones through Paris storefronts and looted valuables in some of the city's richest neighborhoods.

Dozens of streets in central Paris were closed to traffic, while the Eiffel Tower and world-famous museums such as the Musee d'Orsay, the Centre Pompidou and the Louvre were closed.

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".

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