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PARIS and other French cities are effectively under lockdown this weekend in anticipation of further “gilets jaunes” (yellow vests) protests that the authorities deem potentially violent.
In Paris, the Eiffel Tower, Louvre and Musee d’Orsay will be closed, as will shops on the chic Boulevard Champs-Elysees.
Among museums affected by closures are tourist magnets such as the Paris catacombs and the Grand Palais with its Miro exhibition. The Museum of Modern Art and the Science Museum Palais de la Decouverte will also be closed, while performances in both Paris operas, on Place de l’Opera and Place de la Bastille, will be cancelled.
The National Students Union said that, as of this morning, 700 high schools across the country were swept by protests and 400 of them were closed.
Over 90,000 police officers will be deployed throughout the country.
Police overreaction to protests was exemplified by social media coverage of masked and armed police in Mantes-la-Jolie, near Paris, standing over dozens of high school students on their knees, hands on heads, some lined up against a wall.
The Violences Policieres (Police Violence) Twitter group attracted thousands of angry comments, suggesting that the images looked like “the execution of children by firing squad.”
Militant trade union centre CGT secretary general Philippe Martinez declared: “You don't beat up kids.”
The CGT urged its energy workers to stage a 48-hour walkout on December 13, adding that its members wanted to join the “yellow vests,” while the farmers’ union said it will hold demonstrations every day next week.
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