News World The Eiffel Tower and the Louvre close this weekend in anticipation of French riots

The Eiffel Tower and the Louvre close this weekend in anticipation of French riots

A Riot police member speaks with a student during a demonstration of high school students protesting against French government Education reforms in Saint-Priest, France on December 6, 2018.
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The city of love is hunkering down in preparation for another weekend of French riots, closing dozens of iconic Parisian tourist sites including the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre museum.

This weekend will be the fourth consecutive weekend of anti-government protests in response to sharp fuel hikes on petrol and diesel levied to reduce emissions.

Despite a French government decision to suspend the fuel tax and utility price hikes, protestors have vowed to fight on and are preparing for “Act IV” – a fourth weekend of protests.

In response to the threat, Culture Minister Franck Riester told RTL radio the Louvre museum, the Orsay museum, the two operas and the Grand Palais were also among cultural sites that would be closed to locals and tourists.

At least four of the weekend’s first division soccer matches have also been cancelled.

“We cannot take the risk when we know the threat,” Mr Riester said.

An official in President Emmanuel Macron’s office said intelligence agencies warned some protesters would come to Paris on Saturday “to vandalise and to kill”.

More than 5000 police officers tried to contain 8000 protestors with tear gas and water cannons last weekend as demonstrators looted storefronts along the Champs Elysees, burned cars and defaced the iconic Arc de Triomphe with graffiti messages including “Macron resign” and “Overthrow the bourgeoisie”.

Protestors clash with riot police near Arc de triomphe in Paris. Photo: Getty

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said 65,000 police would be drafted to stop a repeat of last Saturday’s mayhem in Paris.

“We will continue to arrest and bring to justice everyone who is caught committing violence or vandalism,” Mr Philippe said.

“And we will continue to take a tough stance, we will fight the hatred and violence which is being expressed in such an incredible level of violence.”

Paris police have asked dozens of shop and restaurant owners around the Champs Elysees and Bastille areas to close and have requested local authorities to remove items around the capital that could be used as projectiles.

The Government says it is also considering using troops deployed on anti-terrorism patrols to protect public buildings.

Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer has urged people to stay at home on the weekend.

-with agencies