French government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux believes that radical forces are attempting to use the “yellow vest” protest movement as an instrument to overthrow the French government.
“Obviously, this is organized. Politicized and radical elements are trying to turn this movement into an instrument. They want to overthrow the government,” Griveaux said in an interview with Le Parisien newspaper, asked about whether the protesters had any particular goal staging action near the Elysee Palace.
The spokesman said that French intelligence officers were aware of the possible illegal spread of firearms during protests, and advised “real demonstrators” to refrain from participating in further rallies.
“We know that firearms may be distributed… Real ‘yellow vests’ cannot serve as human shields. Those present at these protests do not allow the police to detain anyone. Therefore, we call on everyone to be responsible. This is my advice,” Griveaux said.
He also urged broadcasters to cover the events in such a way that the positions of law enforcement officers were not disclosed.The so-called yellow vest protests, named after the reflective vests all French drivers are required to keep in their cars, have been ongoing in France since November 17. Saturday’s “yellow vest” rally in Paris was accompanied by violent clashes between protesters and police, rioting, burning cars, and destroyed stores and banks. Four people were killed and hundreds were injured during the protests. A new demonstration was called for December 8.
Following these acts of violence and clashes, authorities announced they would close the Eiffel Tower on the day of the upcoming December 8 demostration over safety reasons. The Louvre, the Delacroix arts museum and the Tuileries Garden will be shut as well.