The French government yesterday urged "yellow vest" protesters not to hold another round of demonstrations this weekend as police hunted for a second day for the fugitive gunman who attacked a Christmas market in the eastern city of Strasbourg.
Government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux called on the anti-government protesters to be "reasonable", citing the strain on security forces after the bloodshed in Strasbourg on Tuesday evening.
Police across several European countries have joined a manhunt for the main suspect, a 29-year-old Strasbourg native, who killed three and injured 13, according to an updated toll from French authorities.
The suspected killer, identified as Cherif Chekatt, is said to have been injured after exchanging fire with soldiers, but managed to escape and has not been seen since.
"Our security forces have been deployed extensively these past few weeks," Griveaux told CNews television.
"It would be better if everyone could go about their business calmly on Saturday, before the year-end celebrations with their families, instead of demonstrating and putting our security forces to work once again," he added.
So-called "yellow vest" protesters, known for their fluorescent high-visibility jackets, had called for a fifth round of protests this Saturday against President Emmanuel Macron.
The protests began on November 17 over fuel tax increases, but snowballed into a revolt over living standards as well as Macron's perceived indifference to the problems of ordinary citizens.