Eiffel Tower to close Saturday amid Paris riot fears

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PARIS
The Eiffel Tower has announced that it will be closed to visitors on Saturday due to the protests called in the French capital by the yellow vest movement.

Tickets bought online will be refunded, the company operating the Paris monument said on Twitter Thursday.

Several museums and other cultural sites have previously announced they will close on Saturday, fearing a repeat of rioting and protests in the French capital by the yellow vest movement.

The Paris Opera has cancelled planned performances on its two Parisian sites. Two music festivals have also been postponed. The Arc de Triomphe remains closed since last weekend's protest damaged the monument.

Paris police have also urged shops in the Champs-Elysees area to close on Saturday as a precaution. Many stores were smashed and looted in Paris last weekend.

France's prime minister is promising "exceptional" security measures for Paris and around the country Saturday, amid fears that radicals and troublemakers will take advantage of the moment to seed chaos.

Speaking Thursday to lawmakers, Edouard Philippe said the government is taking "all measures necessary" to secure the protests, bringing in additional security officers to bolster the 65,000 forces already in place around the country.

He urged "yellow vest" protesters to stay home for their own protection from those who could hijack the protests, after demonstrations in Paris last Saturday degenerated into rioting and looting. He also praised union leaders and local officials who are joining the government's call for calm.

His government deeply damaged by weeks of protests and looking grave, Philippe acknowledged that the government's dramatic concession this week over the fuel tax rise that sparked the protest movement "doesn't respond" to all the protesters' concerns.