Paris police urge Champs-Elysees shops to shut

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Paris police on Thursday urged shops and restaurants on the Champs-Elysees to close on Saturday when new protests have been called against President Emmanuel Macron, according to notices delivered to businesses seen by AFP.

Around a dozen museums in the capital have also announced their closures following vandalism and clashes with police during the "yellow vest" protests at the weekend, according to the latest tally.

Officials fear a repeat of the violence which saw demonstrators smash windows, burn scores of vehicles and set six buildings ablaze around central Paris on Saturday.

Shops along the iconic avenue were told to keep their doors closed and protect exposed windows, while also removing any outdoor furniture including tables and chairs, according to the notices.

An interior ministry official told AFP earlier that authorities are bracing for "significant violence" on Saturday, based on indications that protesters on both the far right and the far left are planning to converge on the capital.

The Grand and Petit Palais museums near the Champs-Elysees have said they will shut their doors, as have museums in other areas across the city where protests could be likely.

Both the Garnier opera house in central Paris and the Bastille opera, which sits on a square which has traditionally been the site of demonstrations, have cancelled performances scheduled for Saturday.

© 2018 AFP

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