Protests escalate: France in a spiral of violence

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“When does the police violence vaccination come?” In France, demos against the police law escalated over the weekend. Image: keystone

Protests escalate, President Macron increasingly powerless: France in a spiral of violence

Trail of devastation in Paris: demonstrations against a police attack turn into riots in the French capital.

Stefan Brändle from Paris / ch media

A good 50,000 demonstrators protested in several cities in France over the weekend against the government’s security law, which provides for more surveillance, drone flights and local police. The situation escalated when hooded activists broke away from the peaceful crowd.

They smashed shop windows and bus shelters, set cars on fire and fought with the police using projectiles. This arrested 95 demonstrators. 67 police officers were injured – an impressive record. Social concerns and demands to maintain freedom of the press and freedom of demonstration were largely drowned out in the chaos.

The government wants to adhere to its “global security” law; However, it withdraws the central article 24, which was supposed to restrict the filming of police officers, “for reformulation”.

The police and fire brigade had their hands full over the weekend in Paris. Image: keystone

Macron speaks directly to the young people

On Friday, President Emmanuel Macron also gave a long interview on the “brut.fr” information portal, popular with young people, in order to relieve tension. However, one of the journalists, Rémy Buisine, reported himself how he was mistreated by police officers while filming a demonstration.

Macron admitted that the now revised film ban was “not a good way to go”. There is indeed “police violence” and more police controls against dark-skinned young people than against whites. That is why he is creating a reporting platform against discrimination by the police.

With this announcement, Macron only caused additional dissatisfaction. Young people informed him bitterly that such a reporting platform already existed, even if it never had any consequences.

Police disagree with Macron

For their part, angry police officers said they could not work if they were stabbed by their own government. Alliance spokesman Frédéric Lagache said that the endless debate about police violence was only an excuse for real delinquents to evade the controls. If they did not become violent themselves, as the “Black Block” is doing. The high number of police officers injured supports this view of things.

Like everything in France, the question of which side the people actually responsible for the use of force are on is answered in a purely political manner. What is indisputable, however, is that Emmanuel Macron’s presidency has slipped into an ongoing conflict for a good two years. Yellow vests, broad protests against reform projects and now against police violence create the impression that the spiral of violence in France is turning faster and faster.

The president reacts awkwardly

The inexperienced president reacts increasingly clumsily in the Elysée. Emmanuel Macron often lacks natural authority and tries to cover it up with hardliner positions – and soon glosses over them again. By halfway withdrawing a key article of the Police Act, he angered both sides.

The increasing social and political tension worries the French, especially in the unpredictable Corona period. Even political scientists no longer rule out that the current term of office could end in a mess if the right-wing populist Marine Le Pen should gain more and more popularity.

According to surveys, concerned French people therefore call for an “authority”, even a “strong man”. On Sunday, Chief of Staff Pierre de Villiers offered himself to readers of a tabloid in view of the next elections. (aargauerzeitung.ch)

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