French government fears major violence in coming days

The French government says it fears major violence in Paris on Saturday as the national yellow vests protest movement shows little sign of easing.

The government said it was scrapping the fuel tax increases in the budget, which is the original spark for the protests.

But discontent over government policy has spread, and protests have erupted over several other issues.

On Thursday, more than 140 people were arrested at a single protest about proposed reforms to the school system.

Report said the rally, in Mantes-la-Jolie in Yvelines, ended in clashes with police in front of a school. Dozens of other schools were blockaded in cities like Marseilles and Paris.

Saturday Rally

Meanwhile, Saturday’s planned rally of the yellow vests looks set to go ahead. Recent protests have turned violent, causing millions of euros in damage.

The government appealed for calm after making its political concessions.

The protest on Saturday 1 December descended into the worst rioting seen in decades, with hundreds of injuries and arrests.

Many protesters are law-abiding French citizens, engaged in a street protest that has huge public support and is widely seen as a legitimate democratic action.

However, without any central structure or official leaders, extremists and troublemakers are suspected of joining the rallies and inciting violence.

Sources at the presidential palace expressed the government’s concern about continued violence on Wednesday night.

French health minister AgnAs Buzyn said: There is a concern about this violence, and some who do not want to find a solution.

The government is considering mobilising the military to protect important national monuments, French broadcaster BFMTV reported, after the world-famous Arc de Triomphe was damaged last week.

The expectation of unrest led public institutions such as museums to announce their closure on Saturday.

A series of football matches have also been postponed at the request of police or local authorities. They include those between Paris and Montpellier, Monaco and Nice, Toulouse and Lyon, and Saint-Etienne and Marseille.

The yellow vests protests have moved beyond the initial anger about fuel taxes. Last week, the movement � despite a lack of central leadership � issued more than 40 demands to government.

Among them were a minimum pension, widespread changes to the tax system, and a reduction in the retirement age.

The government has already acknowledged some of the concerns, suggesting it may review the wealth tax it abolished after taking power.

An analysis of its original budget plans for 2018-2019 showed it benefitted the very wealthy rather than the very poor.

Source: Voice of Nigeria