"Yellow Vest" activists have called for marches in multiple cities nationwide on Saturday, May 16. The events have been planned despite local government warnings that prohibit the gathering of more than ten people amid coronavirus disease (COVID-19) social-distancing measures. In Paris, participants plan to gather at the Place de la République and the Place Vendome and march to the Place de la Concorde. Participants also plan to march in the city centers of Toulouse, Angers, Montpellier, Albi, and Lyon. The protests are the first large-scale gatherings of the activists since France partially lifted its COVID-19 lockdown measures on Monday, May 11.
Associated business and transportation disruptions and a heightened security presence are to be anticipated near all demonstration sites.
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.
Individuals in Paris and across France are advised to avoid all demonstrations as a precaution, monitor developments, anticipate transportation and business disruptions near protest sites, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
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