Thais advised to avoid Paris during Saturday's protest

Students gather around a burning trash bin outside their school in Bayonne, southwestern France, on Thursday. (AP photo)

The Thai embassy in France has recommended Thai nationals avoid visiting Paris on Saturday, when another mass protest is planned against a tax hike on diesel fuel.

The embassy posted a Facebook message on Friday advising Thais to steer clear of the French capital if possible on Saturday as yellow-vest protesters plan to rally again.

Thais already in Paris were advised to stay away from key locations where protesters will assemble, including the  Avenue des Champs-Élysées.

Thai nationals in other cities where protests will also occur should also avoid the rally sites, it said.

Drastic security measures will put downtown Paris in lockdown mode on Saturday as French authorities try to prevent another outbreak of violence during the anti-government protests.

In addition to the 8,000 policeto be be deployed in the capital, the Paris police prefect has identified 14 high-risk sectors that will be cleared out.

Fearful trhat protesters could target street furniture or construction sites, Paris police will remove all  glass containers, railings and building equipment set up in the identified sectors, which include the Champs-Elysees.

Across the country some 89,000 police will be mobilised, up from 65,000 last weekend, when more than 130 people were injured and over 400 arrested in the worst street violence seen in the country for  decades.

The rioting in Paris has worried tourists, prompted the cancellation of four French league soccer matches around the country this weekend and damaged the local economy at the height of the holiday shopping season.

Rampaging groups last weekend threw cobblestones through Paris storefronts and looted valuables in some of the city's richest neighbourhoods.

The Eiffel Tower, along with more than a dozen museums, two theatres and other cultural sites in Paris, will be closed on Saturday for security reasons. The Paris Opera has cancelled planned performances on Saturday at its two Parisian sites.

Two music festivals in Paris have been postponed and the Arc de Triomphe remains closed being damaged in last weekend's protest.

Paris police have advised shops in the city's high-end Champs-Elysees area to close on Saturday as a precaution.


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