CHAOS ON STREETS as Macron protests SPIRAL out of control

Protesters wearing yellow vests walk on the Champs Elysees Avenue with the Arc de Triomphe in the background during a national day of protest by the

Protesters wearing yellow vests walk on the Champs Elysees Avenue with the Arc de Triomphe in the background during a national day of protest by the"yellow vests movement in Paris France

French authorities will close dozens of museums, tourism sites and shops on Saturday, including the Eiffel Tower and Louvre, fearing a recurrence of last week's violence in Paris, officials said on Thursday.

The national federation of French markets said its members registered "an average fall of their estimated figures between 30 and 40 per cent since the beginning of the movement of the yellow vests".

Across France, 89,000 police officers will be on duty and armoured vehicles will be deployed in the capital, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced.

The French capital experienced its worst riots in decades last weekend, in scenes that shook the country and plunged President Emmanuel Macron's government into its deepest crisis so far.

A spokesman from the movement, Christophe Chalencon, said Philippe had "listened to us and promised to take our demands to the president".

PARIS France mobilized tens of thousands of police officers and made plans to shut down beloved tourist attractions like the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre on the eve of anti-government protests that authorities feared could be even more violent than ones that have crippled the country for weeks.

"We need to protect culture sites in Paris but also everywhere in France", Culture Minister Franck Riester told RTL radio.

But many "yellow vests" have urged fresh protests this weekend, claiming a series of of government concessions do not go far enough. Some could be held in the city center on what is a major Christmas shopping weekend.

The US embassy issued a warning to Americans in Paris to "keep a low profile and avoid crowds", while Belgium, Portugal and the Czech Republic advised citizens planning to visit Paris over the weekend to postpone their visit.

In a warning of impending violence, an MP for Macron's party, Benoit Potterie, received a bullet in the post on Friday with the words: "Next time it will be between your eyes".

Since then the movement has snowballed into a wider revolt against Macron's economic policies and his top-down approach to power.

French gendarmes apprehend a protester during clashes at a demonstration by the

The protests ran into a fourth weekend despite Mr Macron's climbdown over new fuel taxes last week in a desperate bid to end the chaos. He called on peaceful protesters not to get mixed up with "hooligans".

But the "yellow vests", who have become increasingly radicalised, are holding out for more.

The hardline CGT union, hoping to capitalise on the movement, has called for rail and metro strikes next Friday to demand immediate wage and pension increases.

Arguing that such a move was necessary in order to boost investment and create jobs, the former investment banker has so far ruled out reimposing the "fortune tax".

The protesters are angry at Macron and high taxes, among other problems.

But his climbdown on fuel taxes - meant to help France transition to a greener economy - marks a major departure for a leader who had prided himself on not giving into street protests.

Macron himself, the target of much of the protesters' ire, has been largely invisible in recent days, leaving his prime minister and government to try to negotiate with protesters.

On Friday, workers across Paris lugged pieces of plywood and hammered boards over the windows of shops and businesses - making the plush Champs-Elysees neighborhood appear like it was bracing for a hurricane.

"It's with an vast sadness that we'll see our city partially brought to a halt, but your safety is our priority", Mayor Anne Hidalgo said in a statement.

Since the anti-government unrest began on November 17 in reaction to a sharp increase in diesel taxes, four people have been killed in protest-related accidents. "Take care of Paris on Saturday because Paris belongs to all the French people".

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