Emmanuel Macron goes AWOL as protests, violence plague Paris

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As France braces for another round of violent protests this weekend in Paris and the rest of the country, embattled French President Emmanuel Macron is a missing man as his government tries to curb the chaos caused in part by his unpopular plan to hike gas taxes.

Paris was on lockdown early Saturday as thousands of security officers were deployed for potential clashes against yellow-jacketed protesters, Agence France-Presse reported. Shops and tourist destinations, including the Eiffel Tower, were to be closed and soccer matches were canceled.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Embassy requested that Americans in the French capital “keep a low profile and avoid crowds,” the report said.

But as ministers scramble, Macron himself has been neither seen nor heard, leading to criticism from his political opponents. Marine Le Pen, Macron’s right-wing 2017 presidential election rival, urged Macron on Wednesday to meet with the protesters before Saturday.

“Is Macron still in Argentina? He must surely have an opinion,” left-wing 2017 presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon tweeted, a reference to Macron’s recent visit to the G20 summit in Buenos Aires. – READ MORE

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