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Climate, Yellow Vests, pensions, France braces for 'black' weekend of protests

Youth activists take part in a climate march in Paris, 13 October 2018
Youth activists take part in a climate march in Paris, 13 October 2018 REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

Youth activists are expected to take part in global climate marches on Friday, with strikes planned in Paris. Environmentalists will then team up with Yellow Vest protesters and anti-pension reform groups on Saturday, which could spell trouble for this year's Journées du Patrimoine (Heritage Days) weekend.

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Young people and adults are again being encouraged to strike on Friday to protest against global warming.

At least three demonstrations are planned in the French capital under the banner of Fridays for Future.

Inspired by Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg, who this week scooped up the 2019 Ambassador of Conscience Award, the climate movement is expected to see thousands of activists join global rallies.

Organisers in France reckon that Friday's event could draw in even bigger crowds than the 1.6 million students who demonstrated on 15 March.

"We've been protesting for months and the government still hasn't done anything," Marie Bret, a member of Youth for Climate France, told reporters Tuesday.

"We are calling on everyone to take to the streets to galvanise our cross-generational movement," she said.

Friday's event will initiate a week of climate action at the UN headquarters in New York in the presence of numerous heads of state.

End of world Vs. End of month

The climate strike will then be renewed on Saturday, when Yellow Vest protesters and trade unionists against new pension reforms, also converge on Paris' streets.

"Concerns about the end of the world and the struggle to make ends meet are being clearly expressed," Aurélie Trouvé from the NGO Attac, told French daily Le Parisien.

Saturday's event is being held under the slogan "less climate inaction, more social justice."

The multiple demonstrations have put French security forces under high alert.

Because of security concerns, a number of sites will not be opening to the public for this year's Heritage Days (Journées du Patrimoine) weekend, including the Ministry of Education and Agriculture, as well as the police headquarters on Île de la Cité.

The annual Journées du Patrimoine gives people the opportunity to visit some of the country's most interesting and historic sites that are normally closed off to the public, such as the Elyése Palace. This year however, some of those prized monuments will indeed remain closed.

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