By Yusuf Ozcan
France’s interior minister said Friday that peaceful protesters will be “complicit” if they attend Yellow Vest marches that turn violent.
In an interview with France-based digital media outlet Brut aired on Facebook, Christophe Castaner also said those who call for protests and violence should take responsibility for their actions, lambasting those who "hide" behind anonymity.
His comments come as France braces for its ninth week of protests. Some 80,000 police officers will be deployed nationwide Saturday in anticipation of another large demonstration by the Yellow Vest movement.
- Yellow Vest protests
The Yellow Vest protests, which started as a reaction to fuel tax hikes and evolved into a protest against French President Emmanuel Macron, have continued despite the government’s call for them to halt.
Since Nov. 17, thousands of protesters wearing bright yellow vests -- dubbed the Yellow Vests -- have gathered in major French cities, including the capital Paris, to protest Macron's controversial fuel tax hikes and the deteriorating economic situation.
Demonstrators held protests blocking roads and traffic and also blocked the entrance and exits to many gas stations and factories across the country.
The protesters, who generally live in rural areas due to high rents in the cities, have called on Macron to cut fuel taxes and ease their economic difficulties.
Under pressure from the protests, Macron announced a rise in the minimum wage and also scuttled the fuel tax hikes.
At least 10 people have died, over 5,500 have been detained and more than a thousand others have been injured in the protests.