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France

Yellow Vests: 'Rioters will be back' for Easter, government warns

media A yellow vest protester in Paris, 13 April. AFP/ T. SAMSON

Yellow vest protesters have expressed their anger at the lack of donations by rich French people, as was viewed in the aftermath of the Notre-Dame fire earlier this week. French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner warns that this could spark violent protests such as those on 16 March, when shops were ransacked and set on fire.

"The rioters will be back tomorrow," Castaner said on Friday. "The rioters have visibly not been moved by what happened at Notre-Dame," he added.

As the public shared their grief for the much-loved structure, rich families and companies pledged some one billion euros for its reconstruction -- a move that has disgusted many in the yellow vest movement.

"I'm sorry, and with all due respect to our heritage, but I am just taken aback by these astronomic amounts!" Ingrid Levavasseur, a public yellow vest figure, wrote on her facebook page this week.

He said that domestic intelligence services told him that yellow vests potentially planned to hit hard in Paris, Toulouse, Montpellier and Bordeaux.

Marches have been banned around Notre-Dame cathedral in central Paris, which was seriously damaged by fire on Monday. Just one march from Saint Denis, a town just north of Paris, to Jussieu University in the southern Paris, has been authorized.

The yellow vests started their protests after the Macron government planned to raise fuel taxes last year, then expanded into lower taxes and more government services. While the past few protest weekends have been relatively calm as protesters waited for Macron to launch his policy response to the protests, the 23rd weekend is expected to be large.

Macron was slated to speak about his policies on Monday, but canceled the speech due to the Notre-Dame catastrophe. He has not set a new date for his announcement.

 
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