"Yellow vest" protesters have announced demonstrations across France scheduled for Saturday, May 18, with the largest rallies expected in Paris.
In Paris, protesters are expected to gather at the Total Coupole Tower at 11:30 (local time) and march to the Parvis du Sacré Coeur from 13:00 via Pont de Courbevoie, Place de la Porte de Champerret, Place d'Estienne d'Orves, Rue Cadet, Rue La Fayette, Boulevard de Magenta, Barbès, Rue de Clignancourt, and Rue Muller.
Additional rallies are expected in various locations across the capital including at Place de la République at 14:00 and Rue Henri Huchard at 19:00. Yellow vest protesters may also gather around the Arc de Triomphe at 10:00 despite an official prohibition issued by the government.
Security forces in the capital are expected to cordon off the areas surrounding the Champs-Elysées, the Elysée Palace, the National Assembly, and Notre-Dame during the protests to prevent acts of violence and vandalism. Multiple Paris metro stations may also be closed and bus routes disrupted beginning at 08:00 on Saturday due to the protests; information on closures is available here.
Associated demonstrations are also planned in other French cities on Saturday, including:
Additional "yellow vest" protests are to be expected across France over the coming weeks, particularly on Saturdays. A heightened security presence is anticipated near related demonstrations. Localized transportation and business disruptions are likely near protest sites, and clashes between security forces and protesters cannot be ruled out.
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. 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.
Individuals in France are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all protests due to the risk of violence, budget extra time to reach their destinations if traveling through areas affected by demonstrations, and adhere to any instructions issued by the local authorities.
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