More than 100,000 French police are preparing for New Year’s Eve in Paris as the government tries to prevent the yellow vest movement from hijacking what is considered a major tourist event.
Demonstrations are being organized on Facebook where nearly 9,000 people have indicated they plan to attend and cause a ruckus. The movement was created in November through a grassroots uprising after French President Emmanuel Macron leveled excessive carbon taxes on the middle class.
Authorities are gearing up for the worst. “What can we expect? Disorder,” Interior Minister Christophe Castaner told reporters as he visited a fire station in Paris. “What I see with the ‘yellow vests’ is a desire to be harmful, not to demonstrate.”
Macron, who dinged the carbon tax on Dec. 5, is expected to give a televised New Year’s address as protesters are being called on to occupy outside Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris. The demonstrations capped a difficult year for the French president, who’s seen his approval ratings tank.
Macron’s getting heat from environmentalists who were angry after he backslid on the taxes following the months-long protests.
Greenpeace and three other organization, for instance, initiated a lawsuit Dec. 18 claiming France is not doing enough to tackle climate change. The organizations are giving the government two months to formulate a response, after which they will move forward with their lawsuit. The legal pursuit puts Macron in a bind.
The complaint comes less than a month after Macron dinged an unpopular gas tax that roiled activists associated with the so-called yellow vest movement. The anti-gas tax protest is a mix of left-wing and right-wing populist elements. One of the organizations leading the legal pursuit believes the protesters want a carbon tax.
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