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“Yellow Vest” protesters overtaking the streets of Paris on December 2 (screenshot via France 24/YouTube)

Fearing a reprise of last weekend’s destructive “Yellow Vests” protests, the French government has urged Paris’s leading museums and cultural landmarks to stay on high alert.

Preempting demonstrations planned for this Saturday, December 8, museums including the Louvre, Centre Pompidou, Grand Palais, Musée d’Orsay, Orangerie, Palais de Tokyo, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Fondation Louis Vuitton, and Jeu de Paume will all close for business. Major monuments in and around the city, like the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, and Palace of Versailles will also shutter.

According to French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, 89,000 police officers will be on duty across the country, and armored vehicles will patrol the capital on Saturday.

“I will have no tolerance of those who capitalize on the distress of our citizens,” Philippe told reporters today, December 7. The prime minister also warned that “radical elements” could infiltrate planned “yellow vest” protests this weekend. AFP reports that authorities have seized 28 Molotov cocktails and 3 homemade bombs from Yellow Vests in the south of the country. That discovery confirms that the protest, which began in western and central France, is quickly spreading across the country. One student was recently injured during demonstrations in the town of Montbéliard, just 8 miles from the Swiss border.

“We are facing people who are not here to protest, but to smash and we want to have the means not to give them a free rein,” the prime minister added in an interview with TV channel TF1.

Paris officials say that they will step up protection of the city’s famous landmarks after the Arc de Triomphe was damaged last week. In addition to armored vehicles, there will be 8,000 police officers deployed in the capital.

The BBC reports that operators at the Eiffel Tower decided to close the tourist destination because it would be impossible to ensure “adequate security conditions” on the day of the protest.

Images of dozens of high school students kneeling with their hands behind their heads during mass roundups have circulated the news in France, sparking greater outcries of excessive force used by police amidst the fracas of the Yellow Vests protests. According to The Local France, some 150 students were arrested, the youngest being just 12-years-old.

“The Museum of the Louvre, the Delacroix Museum, and the Tuileries Garden will be exceptionally closed Saturday, December 8th,” read the Louvre’s announcement on Twitter, which was accompanied by a picture of the museum bereft of tourists. “Please excuse us for the inconvenience.”

Alongside Paris’ cultural institutions, the government also recommended luxury storefronts along the Champs d’Elysées to close for business and board up their windows.

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Zachary Small

Zachary Small was the senior writer at Hyperallergic and has written for The New York Times, The Financial Times, The Nation, The Times Literary Supplement, Artforum, and other publications. They have...

5 replies on “As Paris Braces for New “Yellow Vests” Protest, Its Cultural Landmarks Close”

  1. It’s interesting how much power some angry poor people have. And how cultural elites can become very afraid of angry poor people. I guess people in the USA are just too busy and happy going to their 3 non-living wage jobs while still not making ends meet, to connect the dots of the new economic slavery system happening right under our noses. Looks like they got woke in France, though, wow!

    1. I heard of the French Revolution and I also heard of “Occupy” (OWS) which got squashed rather quickly, ie no “revolutions” gonna happen here, don’t you worry! And that was under Bloomberg as Mayor as Obama as Prez, keep in mind….

      And most Americans still believe they will have some sort of capitalist American Dream-come-true, which you’d have to be in some sort of delusional state of denial to really believe at this point. Kinda nuts what we’re living in now, for sure. GO ONE% !!! Just kidding – GO Jilets Jaunes!

    2. We don’t completely agree about the Whitney, but this post of yours, I agree with. I am waiting for someone, the day subway and bus fares go up again in NYC, in a month or so I think, to organize a yellow vest action at major subway stops.

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