Paris is girding for a fifth week of violent protests from the “gilets jaunes,” or yellow vests, protesting economic inequality.
This weekend, about 8,000 officers and more than a dozen armored vehicles will be guarding the city, the Associated Press reported.
“Last week, we pretty much handled the yellow vests but we also witnessed scenes of breakage and looting by criminals,” Michel Delpuech, police chief of Paris, told RTL radio.
To date, six protestors have died during demonstrations. So far, the actions have cost the city at least $1.1 billion in lost retail sales, according to the French retail federation.
The protesters’ name comes from wearing yellow safety vests, the garments French drivers are required to keep in their cars for emergencies. Their grievances have evolved, now centering on economic doldrums facing swaths of French. Initially, the protests erupted over a fuel tax, since withdrawn by French President Emmanuel Macron.
At one point, as protests seemed ready to subside, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development released a report showing that France had top tax rates among developed nations.
Early this week, Macron went on television and radio to acknowledge the anger of the Yellow Vests and said France faces “a state of social and economic emergency.” He announced an end to levies on overtime and urged companies to pay workers a year-end bonus that won’t be taxed. But that may have done little to calm people.