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28 Dec 2019 | 05:42 PM UTC

France: Protesters clash with police in Paris December 28 /update 1

Clashes reported as “Yellow Vest” activists, pension protesters rally in Paris December 28; heightened security presence and associated transportation disruptions expected over the coming hours

security
transportation
FRA

Event

On Saturday, December 28, "Yellow Vest" activists in Paris joined a rally of several thousand people marching against the government's proposed pension reform. Clashes broke out in the vicinity of the Centre Pompidou museum, where demonstrators reportedly erected barricades and set them alight. Scuffles between demonstrators and police were also reported elsewhere in Paris. 

Additional protests are possible in Paris and other urban centers across France over the near term.

Context

The "Yellow Vest" movement began on November 17, 2018, to protest rising fuel prices and a planned fuel tax. It has since grown to encompass a number of popular grievances against the French government. Some protests have turned violent and acts of vandalism and looting have been reported, although the scale of the protests has diminished since their height in December 2018. Demonstrations have continued despite French government proposals to address protesters' concerns. President Emmanuel Macron announced a series of reforms on April 25, including closing corporate tax loopholes, income tax cuts, linking pensions to inflation by 2020, and reforms to referendum processes, among others.

Thousands have also protested across France in December 2019 to voice their opposition to the planned pension reform scheme. Subsequent related ongoing nationwide strikes have caused significant disruptions across all forms of transportation. Strikes may continue for an indefinite period if the government does not abandon its proposed pension reform plan.

Advice

Individuals in France, notably in Paris, are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all protests due to the risk of violence, budget extra time to reach their destinations, and adhere to any instructions issued by the local authorities.