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France to deploy troops to maintain security during protests

French President Emmanuel Macron has announced that soldiers will be deployed across the country to help maintain security during yellow vest protests planned this weekend.

Macron said the military will secure government buildings and other sites to allow police forces to focus on maintaining public order, in comments reported Wednesday by government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux Wednesday.

About 7,000 soldiers, most armed with automatic weapons, are already deployed across the country in what the military calls Operation Sentinel, which was created to protect sensitive sites following deadly attacks in 2015.

Unionists demonstrate as part of a national day of strikes in Paris, France, Tuesday, March 19, 2019. Several unions for education workers, private and public sectors called for demonstrations to protest they say low spending power. (AP PhotoFrancois Mori)

The French government announced on Monday new security measures and a ban on yellow vest protests along the Champs-Elysees Avenue in Paris and in two other cities following riots on Saturday that left luxury stores ransacked and charred from arson fires.

Unionists holding a poster reading "Blanquer Killed Me" referring to French Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer demonstrate as part of a national day of strikes in Paris, France, Tuesday, March 19, 2019. Several unions for education workers, private and public sectors called for demonstrations to protest they say low spending power. (AP PhotoFrancois Mori)

CGT (General Working Confederation) labor union leader Philippe Martinez, second left, flanked with FO (Working Force) union leader Yves Veyrier, second right, demonstrate as part of a national day of strikes in Paris, France, Tuesday, March 19, 2019. Several unions for education workers, private and public sectors called for demonstrations to protest they say low spending power. (AP PhotoFrancois Mori)

Unionists demonstrate as part of a national day of strikes in Paris, France, Tuesday, March 19, 2019. Several unions for education workers, private and public sectors called for demonstrations to protest they say low spending power. (AP PhotoFrancois Mori)

Unionists demonstrate as part of a national day of strikes in Paris, France, Tuesday, March 19, 2019. Several unions for education workers, private and public sectors called for demonstrations to protest they say low spending power. (AP PhotoFrancois Mori)

Unionists demonstrate as part of a national day of strikes in Paris, France, Tuesday, March 19, 2019. Several unions for education workers, private and public sectors called for demonstrations to protest they say low spending power. (AP PhotoFrancois Mori)