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Indybay Feature
Thu Jul 13 2023 (Updated 07/15/23)
French See Democracy Fading
Demonstrations Wrack France, Boiling Over After Police Murder of Youth
In recent years, multiple issues have shaken France. Beyond the yellow vest protests, undocumented immigrants, called "sans papiers" (without papers), have not been quiet. They have held large demonstrations protesting their marginalization in French society. Protests against raising the retirement age have been ongoing, as well as large LGBT+ actions. It all boiled over in early July with five days of open rebellion after police shot and killed Nahel Merzouk, a seventeen-year-old of Algerian descent, at a traffic stop. The rebellion was intense. Police, fire stations, schools and city halls were attacked as symbols of the State. A car was sent into the home of a mayor, injuring his wife. Merchandise was expropriated from over two thousand stores.

In response to this latest immigrant-led revolt, the French government has taken a number of repressive anti-democratic actions. Government spokespersons have restricted their rhetoric to deploring protest "violence," while ignoring underlying causes, and have become more strident in accusing opposition on the left of disloyalty to the Republic. Former presidential candidate Eric Zemour proposed to withhold French nationality from people born in France to French parents until they "apply" for citizenship.

Several hundred protesters were detained, tried, convicted, and sentenced to lengthy prison terms all in the space of forty-eight hours. One seventeen-year-old with no prior record was sent to prison for a year and a month for allegedly throwing an empty soda can at a group of police (hitting no one). Government officials are also trying to impose severe fines and remove public assistance from the parents of protesters.

article Something Is Rotten in France

On-the-Ground Coverage from Paris: photo Massive Paris May Day March Continues to Challenge President Macron | photo Breaking News From France, May 18 - President Macron Insulted | photo LGBT+ Action in Paris to Demand Recognition and Rights | photo Yellow Vest Protests Still Active in France

Historical Background: photo The Paris Commune Lives On | photo The Revolution and The Commune

Related Feature: photo French Working People Will Not Accept Retirement Age Increase
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