'Yellow-Vest protests in Paris, France (File Photo)
'Yellow-Vest protests in Paris, France (File Photo)

France: Army deployed ahead of 19th weekend of Yellow Vests protests

ANI | Updated: Mar 23, 2019 16:29 IST

Paris [France], Mar 23 (ANI): French authorities early on Saturday deployed its military on the streets of Paris in order to assist police as the country prepares for fresh ' Yellow Vest' protests.
Sputnik quoted Paris military governor, General Bruno Leray, as saying that the military can go as far as opening fire if their lives or the lives of people they defend are threatened.
However, French President Emmanuel Macron stressed that the soldiers would not be involved in keeping public order.
"Their [soldiers'] mission is to fight against terrorism and to protect vulnerable sites, this is for policemen and military police to get to the operational ground. In our country, the army is not in any way in charge of public order or law enforcement," Macron was quoted as saying.
The decision to deploy the army was undertaken to curb the violence and rampages caused last week when a large group of masked protestors looted and vandalised shops and restaurants located along the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris, as the ‘Yellow-Vests’ protests entered the 18th consecutive weekend.
The French police have also imposed a ban on protests across the Champs-Elysees to ensure the law and order in the French capital.  
In addition, French government's spokesman, Benjamin Griveaux, noted that the troops deployed under “Operation Sentinelle” -- an anti-terror operation, patrolled streets and protected airports, train stations, places of worship and other sites.
During last week’s protests, the French police had put barricades around the Champs-Elysees and resorted to firing tear gas and water cannons to disperse the protesters.
The anti-government protests had previously forced President Emmanuel Macron to scrap the proposed hike in fuel prices.
The government introduced a string of initiatives, including increasing the minimum wage by 100 euros a month, as part of 'economic and social emergency plan' unveiled in December last year.
However, the protesters have continued their agitations regardless, demanding 20 per cent hike in minimum wages, equal pay for men and women, tax reform, development of public services and just environmental reforms. (ANI)