Rioters in Nanterre

The French government is at war with large parts of the country’s population. But the repression isn’t working.

The riots and furious protests after the police execution of 17-year-old French-Algerian Nahel M in Nanterre have spread. Almost no city is immune from attacks on police stations, high-profile corporate stores and state institutions.

Some rural towns have seen resistance and there are even protests in the colony of French Guiana in South America. 

The leftist Liberation newspaper reports, “On the front line in the face of the urban violence that has erupted in recent days, the police seem overwhelmed by the number and determination of the rioters throughout the country. Countless videos of damage and looting are flourishing on social networks. 

“A Parisian police officer sums it up—’It’s impossible to stop them’.” And in many cases, the rioters have forced tooled-up cops to retreat.

The hatred of the police follows decades of racist repression and killings combined with systemic poverty and discrimination. But the anger goes wider. Many people know that the same police who murdered Nahel are the same ones who brutalised the Yellow Vest movement, attacked the pension protests and assaulted environmental activists.

A man has died from a stray bullet in Cayenne, Guiana, during protests. In Mont-Saint-Martin in north east France, a special unit cop fired an anti-riot grenade and left a man hanging between life and death.

Denis Godard, a French socialist and anti-racist, told Socialist Worker, “The riots show how the mass strikes and demonstrations in France this year were fuelled by much more than the pension attacks. 

“The first duty of the left is to get on the streets and support those fighting the police. The test of any workplace activist is whether they can now win people to support those who are raging against the police.

“The union leaders said when they ended the pension demos that the battle would go on. Now is the time to act, if the unions mobilised millions then Macron would be finished. But, just as they held back the pension strikes, so they are now passive as a great social crisis sweeps across France.” 

On Friday evening, president Emmanuel Macron’s government mobilised 45,000 police and special military and police units to fight in the streets. They are also using armoured vehicles including some equipped with a 30-round grenade launcher, tear gas cannon and a FN MAG 58 machine gun—firing 1,000 rounds a minute.

All public transport nationwide stops at 9pm. In the cities of Beauvais in northern France and Châtauroux in central France, unaccompanied young people under the age of 18 will not be able to go out between 10pm and 6am. In Clamart in the Paris suburbs, there’s a general curfew from 9pm to 6am.

The state is urging on its agents to be more violent. Interior minister Gérald Darmanin prosed “the courage, composure and professionalism” of all the police. He assured them, “With the President of the Republic and with the Prime Minister, we are all, fully, at your side” 

The Alliance Police Nationale “union” lapped it up. It issued a press release, “Today the police are in combat because we are at war.”

Cops arrested at least 917 people on Thursday evening, says Darmanin. The average age of those arrested was 17, he said.

But more riots and protests, and strikes, can break the government.

How the police executed Nahel

Cops shot and killed a 17-year-old, Nahel M, and then lied about it.

The police shot him in Nanterre on the outskirts of  Paris on Tuesday. They said Nahel, from a French-Algerian family, had driven at officers after they tried to stop a vehicle. But a video, posted on Twitter, showed the police were by the side of the car which had come to a standstill in the traffic.

One cop points his gun at the driver, and as the car moves away he shoots Nahel in the heart. Before the killer shot, the police gunman can be heard saying, “I’m going to put a bullet in your head.” A second officer says, “Shoot him.”

The killing was about the cops’ contempt for ordinary people, intensified by racism.

Killings by police have soared since a 2017 change to the law—when the Labour-type Francois Hollande was president—that relaxed the rules on shooting as a means of “legitimate self-defence”. Since the law, the number of deaths owing to “refusal to comply” has surged with at least 13 last year.

Original post


We’d love to keep you updated with the latest news 😎

We don’t spam!

Leave a Reply

We use cookies

Cookies help us deliver the best experience on our website. By using our website, you agree to the use of cookies.

Thank you for your Subscription

Subscribe to our Newsletter