Published: Sat, December 15, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Macron to Yellow Vests Protesters Ahead of Expected Rally: 'Calm Down'

Macron to Yellow Vests Protesters Ahead of Expected Rally: 'Calm Down'

"We need to be prepared for worst-case scenarios", he said.

The lawyer's arrest came as Egypt has reportedly moved to restrict the sales of yellow vests for fear of people using them in anti-government protests around the January anniversary of the 2011 revolution that toppled former autocrat Hosni Mubarak. Images of elderly protesters with their heads split by police assaults have been shared widely on social media.

Delpuech told RTL that authorities are aiming to be in "better control" of the situation than they were last weekend, when more than 125,000 people hit the streets of France, 10,000 of whom protested in Paris. Approximately 90,000 government forces are being deployed around the country. They were also deployed around central train stations, including Saint Lazare where they were checking bags while a water cannon truck idled nearby.

French police fired tear gas across the Champs-Elysees Avenue in Paris and protesters scuffled with police outside the city's Opera house amid the fifth straight weekend of protests.

Numbers were down compared to Saturday last week, a police source said.

In a bid to end the protests, Macron has cancelled the planned fuel tax hikes and offered a rise in the minimum wage, tax relief for pensioners and tax-free overtime for workers in 2019.

Until now, a clear majority of French people had backed the protests, which sprung up initially over tax hikes on transport fuel before snowballing into wide opposition to Macron's pro-business agenda and style of governing. They are part of a growing global upsurge in struggles by workers a decade after the 2008 financial crash.

And some yellow vests were seen among a 1,000-strong crowd of right-wing demonstrators when the Pegida anti-migrant movement when it held a rally on December 1 in Berlin.

Egypt imposed heavy restrictions on demonstrations under a 2013 law, passed after the military ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi following mass protests against his rule.

The post on the social media attracted numerous comments.

"I don't think our democracy can accept" the "occupation of the public domain and elements of violence", Macron said in Brussels, speaking after attending a European Union summit there. France "needs calm, needs order, and needs to return to its normal functioning", he said.

"I find it inadmissable that today we are applauding our police and then tomorrow some people think it's ok to go and throw stones at them", Castaner said on Friday morning, referring to how people in Strasbourg clapped to thank the police after news of the suspect's death.

Journalist and political commentator Agnès Poirier told CNN that the anger felt by protesters, many of them members of the lower middle class from more rural areas, remained "very profound".

One activist contacted by Reuters said spontaneous protests such as those in France were now impossible in Egypt.

Their attitude was made explicit by Lauren Berger, the general secretary of the Socialist Party-linked French Democratic Labor Confederation (CFDT) union, in a statement on Thursday.

Despite calls from authorities urging protesters - who wear the fluorescent safety vests that France requires drivers to keep in their cars - to stop their violence demonstrations, the movement rocking the country since mid-November has showed no signs of abating.

Like this: