French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner believes the Yellow-Vest protesters seek to conduct riots, as well as prepare to clash with police during New Year’s night.
“Today, the Yellow Vests will apparently organize or disorganize their march, in order to cause disturbances. It is enough to read social media. They confirm that their aim is to do harm to our security forces and create the biggest possible disturbance. This is what we are taking into account,” Castaner told French television, adding that the demonstrators will, as he sees it, try and prevent the police from doing their job and providing security at festive events.
The minister noted that on New Year’s night, about 300,000 people are expected to turn up at the Champs Elysees, who will be eager to see a show at the Arc de Triomphe and mark the arrival of the New Year.
The wave of the Yellow Vests' protests started in mid-November and has been underway for seven weeks now. While the French government has eventually postponed its planned increase in fuel taxes, which had initially sparked the protests striking a raw nerve with citizens, the "Yellow Vests" have evolved into a broader movement against government policies and rising living costs.