The “Yellow Vest” riots that have rocked Paris this month have gotten so destructive and dangerous that the government is shutting down the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and other iconic landmarks. The riots, which began in protest of rising living costs and fuel prices, have spun out of control in certain Parisian neighborhoods, leading to vandalism, shattered windows, and hundreds of arrests. Now the riot’s organizers are calling for another weekend of protest, and Prime Minister Edouard Philippe is preparing by deploying 89,000 police across the country to keep the demonstrations from degenerating into anarchy.
“We cannot take the risk when we know the threat,” Culture Minister Franck Riester told RTL radio in reference to the monument closures. The French government is trying desperately to avoid a repeat of last weekend’s mayhem, which saw the Arc de Triomphe defaced with anti-Macron graffiti. In addition to the Louvre and Eiffel Tower, the Musée d’Orsay, two operas, and the Grand Palais will also be closed, as security for visitors cannot be guaranteed. Four soccer matches have also been canceled on Saturday, and the government has encouraged dozens of shops and restaurants to close their doors, as well.
Those looking for signs of a compromise may be pleased to hear that Philippe told parliament, “I am ready to look at all measures that will help raise the pay of those on the minimum wage.” It might not quell the protests by this weekend, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.