Protests organized by the Yellow Vest movement have been reported in French cities nationwide on Saturday, September 12. As of 15:00 (local time), well-attended protests are taking place in Paris, Lyon, Lille, Toulouse, Marseille, Bordeaux, Strasbourg, and Nantes, among others. Smaller protests are likely in urban areas throughout the country, with protesters likely to cause disruption to transportation and business. While the majority of the protests have so far been peaceful, clashes with security forces have been reported in the vicinity of Place de Wagram in Paris, where a car was set alight, as well as in Place Bellecour in Lyon, with police deploying tear gas in both cases in an effort to disperse the crowd. Almost 200 arrests have been reported in Paris so far. Several cities have declared the demonstrations illegal, and a strong police presence has been reported at protest sites.
Continued protests are likely over the course of the weekend, and clashes between protesters and security forces cannot be ruled out. Disruption to transportation and business is likely while protests continue.
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. The protests on September 12, have been billed by organizers as the return of the Yellow Vest movement, following months of relative quiet due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Those in France are advised to monitor developments, avoid demonstrations, anticipate a localized disruption near protest sites, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
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