Paris governor says soldiers are allowed to fire on Yellow Vest protesters
The military governor of Paris has said soldiers in France are allowed to open fire on Yellow Vest protesters if necessary.
Iran Press/Europe: "French soldiers will operate under strict instructions but will be allowed to fire live ammunition if necessary in the planned yellow vest protests Saturday", the military governor of Paris has confirmed.
"If their lives or that of the people they defend is threatened, they can go up to opening fire," General Bruno Leray told Franceinfo Radio as protesters geared up to take to the streets of Paris.
An estimated 8,300 people had turned out for 'yellow vest' anti-government protests across France, including 3,100 in Paris, the interior ministry said.
The figures suggest a marked drop from last weekend, when officials counted 14,500 demonstrators by mid-afternoon in France, with 10,000 in Paris, the scene of rioting and looting on the Champs-Elysees.
Following the incidents, French President Emmanuel Macron summoned a meeting with his interior and justice ministers to assess the critical situation and vowed to take 'strong measures' to stop such riots from happening again.
The office added that security forces should prepare for firmer measures to stop the protests.
It has now been confirmed that the French army will join some 5,000 police deployed ahead of the 19th weekend of demonstrations in a row in Paris.
General Leray said an unspecified number of soldiers mainly used for anti-terrorism duties would be defending public buildings this Saturday.
Police in the French capital has banned protests on the Champs-Elysees on Saturday, a week after anti-government demonstrators vandalized shops on the iconic Paris avenue.
Protesters will also be prevented from entering streets surrounding the Arc de Triomphe, at the top of the avenue, as well as several nearby areas including the presidential Elysee Palace and the National Assembly, the Paris prefect's office said.
The protests started in November to oppose now-abandoned fuel tax hikes and then rapidly evolved into a broader movement against Macron and his pro-business reforms, as well as elitism in general.
The yellow vest movement, one of the largest French demonstrations in recent history, has marched every Saturday since November 2018.
Macron, in response to the protests, offered the poorest labourers and pensioners a package of concessions worth more than 10 billion euros ($11 billion) aimed at increasing their insufficient earnings.
The measure, however, failed to end the demonstrations, while the protests quickly spiralled into a broader anti-Macron movement. 208/211/104