France: Thousands of Police Officers Deployed To Counter Yellow Vest Rallies
By Staff, Agencies
The French government deployed thousands of police officers to Paris to counter fresh yellow vest demonstrations, which are planned to be held alongside global climate rallies in the capital on Saturday.
At least 7,000 officers, along with launchers and armored police units, were deployed in the French capital on Saturday to face those who "obviously want to take revenge" and have already announced that they “will stop at nothing," said Paris police Chief Didier Lallement.
He explained that 180 motorcycle units and a number of highly mobile police squadrons are in reserve to be mobilized anywhere across the city. Firefighters are prepared to intervene if necessary, according to police.
Key yellow vest figure Jerome Rodrigues has billed Saturday's protest as "a revelatory demonstration", claiming "many people are going to come to Paris".
Officials have outlawed protests on the Champs-Elysees and other areas in the heart of the capital, where running battles between police and protesters turned them into virtual war zones last year.
The government is worried lest the rallies regain the momentum of the winter and early spring when 282,000 people rallies nationwide on the first day of protests last November.
The yellow vest protests, named after the high-visibility safety jackets worn by most of the demonstrators, started in mid-November over fuel tax increases but morphed into a nationwide movement against government policies.
On many occasions, police fired tear gas and stun grenades at protesters, who hit back by setting fire to trash cans and throwing rocks at police.
The protests coincide with nationwide rallies in France and many other countries to raise awareness about a widening climate crisis.