Museums, Cultural Sites Reopen After Violent Protests in France

Louvre
Louvre
(Wikipedia)

France cleaned up on Sunday after a fourth weekend of protests resulted in violence and property damage. Dozens of museums, shops and cultural sites closed around Paris on Saturday.

Some 125,000 "yellow vests," the name for protestors wearing the bright safety vests, demonstrated across the country with about 10,000 in the capital. Over 1,000 people were detained in Paris, according to FRANCE24.

Complaints aimed by protestors against President Emmanuel Macron at first centered on a fuel tax and economic inequality. 

Amid the protests, sites including the Eiffel Tower and Arc du Triomphe (which sustained damage to its Marianne statue and was also defaced earlier) closed, along with major museums such as the Louvre, Centre Pompidou, Grand Palais, and the Musée d’Orsay. Auction houses in Paris also were shuttered, as well as the Palace of Versailles, and other major tourist attractions.

France leads the world in tourism with a record 82.6 million visitors last year. 

"This is a catastrophe for commerce, it's a catastrophe for our economy," economy minister Bruno Le Maire said on Sunday while surveying damage. Protestors have burned cars and vandalized shops; hundreds of people have been injured and three killed over the weeks.

Authorities are investigating the use of social media in the demonstrations. According to the UK's Times newspaper, hundreds of online accounts linked to Russia were used to stoke unrest.

Buzzfeed notes: "This isn’t the first time real-life violence has followed a viral Facebook storm and it certainly won’t be the last."

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