The prefect of Paris police Didier Lallement launched Thursday a call to "responsibility" to avoid incidents during the demonstration on pensions Friday which must, very rarely, end Place de la Concorde.
For the seventh day of action, the demonstration must start Friday at 11:00 a.m. from Place de la République for a scheduled dispersion around 7:00 p.m. Place de la Concorde.
"This choice of location is that of the organizers of the demonstration and is their sole responsibility. The police headquarters will mobilize significant human and material resources aimed at ensuring the safety of the demonstrators and preventing violence and damage on the fringes of the procession", warns prefect Lallement in his press release.
On February 6, 1934, a demonstration at the call of the far right, Place de la Concorde in front of the National Assembly, ended in bloody riots with at least 15 dead and several hundred wounded.
Since then, republican tradition has it that demonstrations called by unions avoid Place de la Concorde, close to places of power, even if there were exceptions. On May 30, 1968, the Gaullists had paraded from Concorde to Place de l'Etoile, but it was a demonstration of support for the ruling power.
Concerning the "yellow vests", their declared demonstrations did not foresee a point of arrival at Concorde, which did not prevent them from trying to go there.
"Currently, deciding to end a race at Place de la Concorde is making the choice to make it a potential battlefield," worries a senior interior official.
In his press release, the prefect of police called "on everyone's responsibility so that this exercise of the right to demonstrate takes place with respect for the rule of law, the safety of people and property".
As in previous large-scale demonstrations, between 5,000 and 6,000 law enforcement personnel are expected to be deployed. Controls will be carried out on the axes serving the capital and perimeters of prohibition of circulating and demonstrating will be established (Champs-Elysées and institutional sites).
A requisition was sent to the town hall of Paris for the removal of all that could be used for projectiles and to secure the construction sites on the course.
In his press release, Mr. Lallement asked "all peaceful demonstrators" to "position themselves in the union procession and not in a pre-procession where radical groups have become used to forming".
He also invited the demonstrators "to strictly comply with the instructions of the organizers, to dissociate themselves from violent actions".
© 2020 AFP