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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Thursday, December 14, 2017

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Paris protesters decide to snub the American President, create ‘No Trump zone’ ahead of Bastille Day event

Trump to be the guest of honour at the Bastille Day events

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PARIS, France - Despite ideological clashes between the two leaders, French President Emmanuel Macron extended an invitation to U.S. President Donald Trump to be the guest of honour at the Bastille Day events in the country. 

However, even as Trump landed in the French capital, along with his wife, Melania Trump, economic adviser Gary Cohn, White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and national security adviser HR McMaster - thousands of protesters made final arrangements to crowd the streets of Paris to create a “no Trump zone” for the U.S. President. 

Macron’s invitation to Trump and the First Lady surprised many, as Trump had, during the French presidential, praised far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

However, before leaving to Paris, Trump said that the trip would “celebrate and honour” France's national day and a century since the U.S.’ entry into the First World War.

Trump will be officially welcomed with a luxurious dinner at the Eiffel Tower ahead of a series of state events on Friday, but demonstrators will be sending a very different signal nearby in the French capital.

The Paris Against Trump alliance is reportedly planning a rally at the symbolic Place des États-Unis, which is the former home of the U.S. embassy and filled with memorials commemorating ties between the two nations.

This, reports state will be followed by a night of music, dance and performances at a designated “no Trump zone” in the Place de la Republique. 

While there are a diverse group of protesters demonstrating, a majority of them oppose Trump's climate change policies, travel ban and anti-war groups.

The other protests planned for the day include socialist and anti-racist activists marching from the Place de Clichy.

Crowds will mark Bastille Day - a national holiday - a year after similar crowds were targeted by an ISIS supporter who killed 86 people in Nice in 2016.

Further, local reports quoted many groups that are also directing their anger at Macron for extending the invitation and over reforms to labour laws. 

According to organisers of Paris Against Trump, they oppose “his positions on the climate crisis, his international politics against migrants, his sexist speeches and behaviour, his Islamophobia and racist remarks, his military plans around the world and his neo-liberalism and capitalism.”

Further, Trump's decision to withdraw from the historic Paris agreement has seen many protesting especially after the Elysee Palace “troll” the White House by altering a video seeking to justify the move.

However, intense security has been planned for the duration of Trump's stay in France, which comes after a string of ISIS-linked terror attacks in France including a recent attempt near Notre-Dame cathedral.

Security preparations include bulletproof screens and snipers.

According to French sources, his visit will see maximum security in Paris and parts of the city in lock-down.

Usual snipers will be positioned high above the Champs-Elysées and Trump's own security team will have the last say on the president's movements.

In July last year, after a jihadist murdered a priest, Trump angered many in the French capital when he suggested France and Paris had changed beyond recognition, hinting that immigration from Islamic countries was to blame.

He stated, “I wouldn’t go to France. France is no longer France.”

His remarks came after he previously said "unfortunately France isn't what it was and Paris neither."

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo hit back, calling Trump "unfriendly" and blasted the U.S. for its record on gun crime.

Europe1 has said that one of the main aims of the French hosts is to show Trump that Paris is still indeed Paris and not some kind of no-go zone as Trump and sections of the right wing U.S. media have suggested in the past.

Macron, on his part has been an outspoken supporter for the accords and in his previous meetings with the U.S. President, he has not only struck an unusually chummy rapport with him - but has also won a handshake contest against Trump, along with his cellphone number.

Now, Macron and Trump will focus on shared diplomatic and military endeavours, particular counter-terrorism.

An Elysee official was quoted as saying on Thursday that Macron would not shy away from difficult issues like Trump's combative “America First” trade policy.

The aide was quoted as saying, “The meeting won't avoid subjects on which we have different positions, such as climate and, to a certain extent, trade. I have no doubt that the presidents will talk about the state of military actions in Syria and they will talk about the future.”

On Thursday morning, after arriving in Paris and being picked up in his armoured limousine, a bomb-proof vehicle dubbed "the beast", that he takes on all foreign trips, Trump travelled to the American Ambassador’s residence for lunch with U.S. military personnel, before a scheduled tour of the Les Invalides monuments.

He is set to go to the Elysee Palace for a bilateral meeting with Macron, following which the duo will hold a joint press conference.

The leaders and their wives will have dinner, which will reportedly include blue lobster and caviar, up the Eiffel Tower's famed Le Jules Verne restaurant.

Trump will be the guest of honour at Friday's military parade on the Champs-Elysees - which will be the first time a U.S. President had attended since George Bush in 1989.

 

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