April 19 (UPI) -- French Yellow Vest protesters -- some angered by hundreds of millions of dollars in donations made toward rebuilding the Notre Dame Cathedral -- plan to demonstrate this weekend.
French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner warned Friday the protesters plan to hold a repeat of the March 16 demonstrations, when some participants became violent, burning cars, starting bonfires and throwing objects at police.
"We can expect the ultra-radicals on Saturday to once again stir up trouble and organize themselves in groups to propagate violence -- this is the only thing they have in common. Once again, the threat is serious and calls for strengthened operations," he said during a news conference.
Castaner said the Yellow Vest protesters don't appear to have been dissuaded from protesting in the wake of a destructive fire at Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral. In fact, some protesters have said Monday's fire and the quick outpouring of some $850 million to rebuild further highlighted the differences between France's wealthy and the working, middle class.
"Can you imagine, 100 million, 200 million in one click!" CGT labor union head Philippe Martinez told The New York Times. "It really shows the inequalities in this country.
"If they're able to give dozens of millions to rebuild Notre Dame, they should stop telling us that there is no money to pay for social inequalities."
Some became enraged after former Culture Minister Jean-Jacques Aillagon suggested that corporate donations toward the reconstruction of Notre Dame be given a 90 percent tax deduction.
"I want to tell them: Start by paying your taxes. That will add to the state culture budget," said Manon Aubry, a leader of the France Insoumise radical left party.
The Yellow Vest movement takes its name from the fluorescent road-safety garment that all French drivers are made to carry in their vehicles.
The protests, which started in late 2018, began with people from rural areas who protested fuel tax increases seen as a green tax supported by President Emmanuel Macron. The protests then morphed to represent a wide variety of complaints from the standard of living, shrinking social welfare benefits and other issues.
Castaner said French officials banned protests planned to take place Saturday on Ile de la Cite, an island in the Seine River where Notre Dame is located. Another march from Saint-Denis to Jussieu University was approved.