The so-called yellow vests in France have canceled a scheduled Tuesday meeting with the government. This was reported by representatives of the protest movement in Paris. As a reason they gave security concerns. They had been threatened by hardliners because they wanted to speak with government officials.
Prime Minister Édouard Philippe had invited to the meeting after the escalation of violence in the protests at the weekend in his office. On Monday evening, he held a crisis meeting with several ministers. Earlier, President Emmanuel Macron called on the government to hold talks with the protesters. He had instructed Philippe to receive representatives of the protest movement as well as the leaders of the parties represented in parliament, said the Élysée Palace after a crisis meeting of the Cabinet.
Already a previous meeting between Philippe and representatives of the movement had failed a few days ago: The protesters had demanded a live broadcast of the talks, which had been rejected.
Macron declines foreign travel
The yellow vests have been protesting for about two and a half weeks against high fuel prices, taxes and the cost of living in France. The initially peaceful protest against government policy had turned into violence on the weekend in Paris. During the riots, there were more than 100 injured and about 400 arrests on Saturday, police said. Rioters had built barricades, lit cars, and thrown in windows. It caused property damage in the tens of millions, including the triumphal arch, which was sprayed with graffiti. The police used tear gas and water cannons. 5,000 officials were on duty. Among the injured were according to authorities and 23 police officers.
Interior Minister Christophe Castaner wants to receive on Tuesday representatives of the police unions to negotiate with them about a strategy against violence in the protests. The police have been demanding higher funding for years, partly because of Islamist attacks.
Meanwhile, President Emmanuel Macron said Serbian statements from a planned visit to Belgrade. Macron had asked him to postpone the visit planned for Wednesday and Thursday „by a few weeks,“ said Serbian President Aleksander Vučić. The reason given by Macron „problems“ in France. Earlier, Prime Minister Philippe had canceled a visit to Poland.