Élysée fears return of violence in Paris this weekend

The Élysée Palace fears further violence in Paris this weekend due to "hardcore" of people determined to "smash and kill"

This Saturday (December 8) could see the return of serious violence in Paris by those determined to “smash”, the Élysée has said, as public support for the genuine Gilets Jaunes protests remains high.

The Élysée Palace is preparing for the worst this weekend, it has said, fearing further riots and violence from “a hardcore of several thousand people” who it believes will come to the capital “to smash and kill”, according to news source FranceInfo.

This side of the movement is “extremely worrying”, it said.

Many government departments have appealed for calm this week, after riots and violence injured over 230 people across France last weekend.

Interior minister Christophe Castaner even asked the GIlets Jaunes protestors not to come to Paris this weekend.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said that this was not because the government wants protesters to “stop with their demands”, but to avoid legitimate protesters from being “tripped up by those who are already planning to wreak disorder and chaos” across the capital.

Workers unions across the country have said that while they support the "legitimate anger" of the movement, they completely denounce "all forms of violence".

One non-violent protester near Amiens (Somme) - whose group has occupied a local roundabout for over three weeks - said that he would continue to protest as long as was necessary.

He said: "If we need to be here at Christmas and over New Year, we will be here."

Despite the violence seen last weekend, public support for the Gilets Jaunes movement itself remains high; although it is dropping slowly week-on-week.

A poll published this week showed that 63% of French people believe that the protests should continue, a drop of six percentage points in comparison to the week before.

Over two thirds (78%) say that the measures announced by the government this week do not “respond adequately to the demands” made by protesters.

Support for the movement is especially high (around 75%) among people in a precarious financial situation; but support has dropped among management executives (43%), those in a good financial situation (52%) and those living in the Paris area (57%).

Just under half of the public (46%) say that they actively “support” the movement, while 26% say that have “sympathy” for the Gilets Jaunes protesters.

Barely over one in 10 (11%) say they are opposed to the action, and just 10% admit to being openly hostile to the movement (with the latter up four percentage points compared to last week).

One in five (20%) say they identify personally as “a Gilet Jaune” - a percentage that has remained stable week-on-week.

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