Outcry Over Mass Teen Roundup as France Braces for More Protests

Laurie Garrett

Outcry Over Mass Teen Roundup as France Braces for More Protests

"According to the information we have, some radicalized and rebellious people will try to get mobilized tomorrow", Interior minister Christophe Castaner told a press conference on Friday.

At the height of the festive shopping season, many Paris store owners were boarding up their shop fronts and have said they will remain shut Saturday for fear they may be in the line of any unrest between protesters and police.

Eight thousand police departments will be deployed in Paris, and local cops will remove all glass containers, railings and building machines from construction sites - even on the glitzy Champs-Élysées avenue - fearing that protesters could use them as makeshift weapons.

Across the country, France is mobilizing some 89,000 police, up from 65,000 last weekend, when more than 130 people were injured and over 400 arrested as protests degenerated into the worst street violence to hit Paris in decades.

Six French league soccer matches scheduled for this weekend around the country have also been canceled.

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

French President, Emmanuel Macron, will address France on the "yellow vest" movement early next week as the country braces for another wave of violent protests on Saturday over the cost of living. However, protesters' demands have now expanded to other issues hurting French workers, retirees and students.

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.

French students opposing changes in key high school tests protested again Friday, a day after footage widely shared on social media showed the arrest of protesting high school students outside Paris and prompted an outcry.

At least two cars were burned outside a school in Mantes-la-Jolie northwest of the capital on Thursday, while a student was seriously injured by a rubber bullet fired by police in the central city of Orleans.

Demonstrators clash with riot police at the Arc de Triomphe during a protest of the "yellow vests" against rising oil prices and living costs, on December 1, 2018 in Paris.

Defending the treatment of the children, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner aid: "Over the past few days, the students have been joined by about 100 hooded youths armed with clubs and incendiary devices and determined to pick a fight with police". A dozen armoured vehicles will also be used in the capital.

Dozens of people wearing face masks threw Molotov cocktails, torched rubbish bins and clashed with police outside schools in several cities on Thursday.

The rioting in France has also had an economic impact at the height of the holiday shopping season.

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". "And in case they set up barricades, we can quickly clear out the space and let our units progress".

"We can not take the risk when we know the threat", Riester told RTL.

In addition to the closure of the Eiffel Tower, many shops and museums across France, including the Louvre, Orsay Museum and the Grand Palais, will keep their doors shut on Saturday for safety reasons.

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