No plans to impose state of emergency over protests: French government

French ambulance drivers stage protest against President Macron's reforms Photograph:( Reuters )

AFP Paris, France Dec 03, 2018, 03.32 PM (IST)

The French government has no plans currently to impose a state of emergency over the "yellow vest" protests which caused chaos and destruction in Paris over the weekend, junior interior minister Laurent Nunez said Monday.

"It's one option among others, but for now it's not on the table," Nunez told RTL radio, after calls by several police unions for expanded powers to contain the demonstrations.

States of emergency were imposed after nationwide riots in 2005 by youths in poor suburbs, and after the jihadist attacks in Paris in November 2015.

Many of the provisions, including expanded ID checks and restrictions on public gatherings, were incorporated into a new security law pushed through by President Emmanuel Macron when the emergency measures were lifted last year.

Some of the "yellow vest" demonstrators have already called for the third round of protests in Paris on Saturday, despite the violence over the weekend when dozens of vehicles were burned and shops vandalised.

Also read: Ambulance drivers in France join ongoing protest against President Macron's reforms 

Asked about the possibility that the next protest would be banned, Nunez said: "We'd have to be capable of stopping it, because these are determined people who would come anyway." 

He claimed that some of last Saturday's protesters "clearly intended to kill", citing the seizure of hammers and steel marbles among some of the 412 people arrested, and the near-lynching of a police officer near the Arc de Triomphe war memorial.

The government is holding crisis talks Monday with leaders of other political parties on how to respond to the grassroot protests, which erupted last month after months of simmering anger across much of the country over fuel tax increases. 

Story highlights

States of emergency were imposed in Paris after nationwide riots in 2005 by youths in poor suburbs, and after the jihadist attacks in November 2015.