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POLICE

More than 7,000 police to be on duty in Paris for May 1st protests

French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner on Tuesday said more than 7,400 police and security forces would be deployed in Paris for Wednesday's May Day marches in case of violence by protesters.

More than 7,000 police to be on duty in Paris for May 1st protests
Photo: AFP

The government is bracing for a repeat of last year's May 1st violence, when the government was caught off guard by some 1,200 trouble-makers who ran amok in the capital, vandalising businesses and clashing with police.

READ ALSO Metro station closures and protest routes – what you need to know about May 1st 2019

Castaner said the authorities had found several groups on social media urging protesters to turn Paris into “the capital of rioting” on Wednesday.

“Based on the information we have, 1,000 to 2,000 radical activists, potentially reinforced by individuals coming from abroad, could try to spread lawlessness and violence,” he told a press conference.

 

Nearly 200 motorcycle units will be deployed across the capital to respond quickly to flare-ups of violence, and drones will be used to track protesters' movements.

Castaner said police would also avail themselves of a new law allowing pre-emptive searches of anyone planning to march, saying a handful of individuals had already been detained on Tuesday.

One man was found with a backpack containing “an extendable truncheon, a switchblade and protective gloves,” Castaner said.

French security forces have already been on high alert for nearly six months over the weekly “yellow vest” demonstrations that have often spiralled into rioting and running battles with police.

Many of the violent protesters are anti-capitalist youths dressed in black and wearing face masks, often called “black blocs”.

Adding to the risks, police worry that yellow vests may turn out for the traditional May Day march for workers' rights.

Though so far, union leaders have been eclipsed by the grass-roots movement, many of whose leaders have rejected calls to make common cause to secure improved living conditions and spending power.

Member comments

  1. The Government should also investigate how these protests have started suddenly after
    the President increased fuel price a few months ago and this socalled Yellow waists started destroying public property.Who are the people behind this should be investigated and if found antinational appropriate measures should be taken.Eurpope in general and France in particular was a peaceful place.Who disturbed this peace and what is their purpose should be known to the Establishment.

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POLICE

Two mountaineers killed and 9 injured in ice fall in Swiss mountains

A Frenchwoman and a Spaniard were killed and nine other mountaineers were injured on Friday in an ice fall in southwest Switzerland, police said following a rescue attempt involving several helicopters.

Two mountaineers killed and 9 injured in ice fall in Swiss mountains

Police received calls at 6.20 am reporting that mountaineers had been caught up in falling seracs — columns of glacial ice formed by crevasses — on the Grand Combin, a glacial massif near the Italian border in the Wallis region.

Seven helicopters with mountain rescue experts flew to the scene, finding 17 mountaineers split among several groups.

“Two people died at the scene of the accident,” Wallis police said in a statement. They were a 40-year-old Frenchwoman and a 65-year-old man from Spain.

Nine mountaineers were airlifted to hospitals in nearby Sion and in Lausanne. Two of them are seriously injured, police said.

Other mountaineers were evacuated by helicopter.

The regional public prosecutor has opened an investigation “to determine the circumstances of this event”, the police said.

The serac fall happened at an altitude of 3,400 metres in the Plateau de Dejeuner section along the Voie du Gardien ascent route.

The Grand Combin massif has three summits above 4,000 metres, the highest of which is the Combin de Grafeneire at 4,314 metres.

The police issued a note of caution about setting off on such high-altitude expeditions.

“When the zero-degree-Celsius isotherm is around 4,000 metres above sea level, it is better to be extra careful or not attempt the route if in doubt,” Wallis police said.

“The golden rule is to find out beforehand from the mountain guides about the chosen route and its current feasibility.”

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