French authorities predict ‘great violence’ in Paris

PARIS: French authorities warned another wave of “great violence” and rioting could be unleashed in Paris this weekend by a hard core of ‘yellow vest’ protesters, as senior ministers sought to defuse public anger with conciliatory languages on taxes.
Despite capitulating this week over plans for higher fuel taxes that inspired the nationwide revolt, President Emmanuel Macron has struggled to quell the anger that led to the worst street unrest in central Paris since 1968.
Rioters torched cars, vandalised cafes, looted shops and sprayed anti-Macron graffiti across some of Paris’s most affluent districts, even defacing the Arc de Triomphe. Scores of people were hurt and hundreds arrested in battles with police.
An official in Macron’s office said intelligence suggested that some protesters would come to the capital on Saturday “to vandalise and to kill.” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said 65,000 security personnel would be deployed across the country on that day to keep the peace.
In a bid to defuse the three-week crisis, Philippe had told parliament that he was scrapping the fuel-tax increases planned for 2019, having announced a six-month suspension the day before.
Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told a conference he was prepared to bring forward tax cutting plans and that he wanted workers’ bonuses to be tax-free. But he added: “In this case, it must go hand-in-hand with a decrease in spending.” — Reuters