Paris security forces are prepared to deploy up to 80 armored vehicles in anticipation of “extreme violence” and rioting during “Act IV” of the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vest) protest scheduled for Saturday, according to Le Parisien.
The Berliet VXB-170, also known as a “VBRG” would be strategically deployed in parts of Paris most likely to suffer violence or vandalization. Designed in the 1960s, the 12 ton, 19-foot-long vehicles don 7mm thick armor and are capable of firing tear gas grenades. They can also be equipped with a 7.62mm machine gun, and either a 37mm or 40mm grenade launcher.
Up to 89,000 police and gendarmes will be deployed across the country, including at least 8,000 in Paris, according to Prime Minister Édouard Philippe, who said this week “We are facing people who are not there to demonstrate but are there to smash things up and we want to make sure we’re not leaving them to do what they want.”
Yellow Vest movement is the most serious wave of protests in France since 1968. Will it evolve into Paris Spring? https://t.co/w5l5M6iGro
— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) December 7, 2018
To that end, Philippe may order the VBRG deployment, while Paris Police will set up a judicial center to deal in real time with the anticipated 600 to 800 arrests, according to David LeBars, Secretary General of the National Union of Police Commissioners (SNCP).
Paris has gone into virtual lockdown as authorities and businesses prepare for the mayhem – as shops, banks, restaurants and other businesses boarded up to prevent anticipated looting and property destruction. As we reported yesterday, the Eiffel Tower will be among the shuttered tourist attractions around the city.
The Yellow Vest movement began as a protest of the Macron government’s proposed new gas tax, and quickly transitioned into a general anti-government movement.
Outside of the capital, tax offices have been boarded up, though the association of rural mayors has asked local councillors to keep town halls open to allow “each citizen to verbally express their anger”.
Ministers have repeated calls for calm and asked protesters to stay away from the capital, as have union leaders, opposition parties and Roman Catholic clergy.
On Friday French media reported that the president, Emmanuel Macron, had refused a demand to meet “moderate” gilets jaunes at the Elysée.
Unofficial Yellow Vest spokesman Benjamin Cauchy has said that his group wanted to meet with Macron because “insurrection is at the gates of France and we don’t want any deaths this weekend.”
Also likely to fuel French anger is a viral video of police detaining protesting high school students “execution-style,” as they protested education reform in north-central Mantes-la-Jollie.
D’autres images de l’interpellation de dizaines de lycéens, aujourd’hui à Mantes-la-Jolie. pic.twitter.com/ghv8K91e7l
— Violences Policières (@Obs_Violences) December 6, 2018
Macron said he wanted to rule France like a Roman God. Perhaps a paper crown from Burger King would be more appropriate?