December 6, 2018 / 12:19 PM / 5 days ago

Number of French games cancelled due to protests rises to six

PARIS (Reuters) - The number of this weekend’s French top-flight soccer matches that have been cancelled rose to six on Thursday amid concerns about planned anti-government demonstrations.

France will close the Eiffel Tower and other tourism landmarks in Paris and draft in thousands more security forces on Saturday to stave off another wave of violent protests in the country over living costs.

Authorities have postponed Sunday’s Ligue 1 match between St Etienne and Olympique de Marseille - two of France’s biggest teams - and Friday’s AS Monaco-Nice south-coast derby.

Toulouse against Olympique Lyonnais has also been called off, the league said, along with Angers v Girondins de Bordeaux.

The top-of-the-table clash between leaders Paris St-Germain and Montpellier was postponed on Tuesday.

L’Equipe also reported that the Nimes against Nantes game was a sixth casualty leaving only two fixtures on Saturday, while two games are still on the programme for Sunday.

There was no immediate response from the French Football Federation on whether the entire weekend programme, with 10 matches originally scheduled, would be called off.

Last weekend, thousands of people rioted against French President Emmanuel Macron and his squeeze on household spending brought about by tax increases on diesel.

Riot police were overrun as protesters wrought havoc in Paris’s fanciest neighbourhoods, torching dozens of cars, looting boutiques and smashing up luxury private homes and cafes in the worst disturbances the capital has seen since 1968.

Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta, additional reporting by Andrew Downie; Editing by Luke Baker

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