The Independent: Macron must tackle police brutality and social exclusion


The Independent said, in an article that French president Emmanuel Macron must tackle police brutality and social exclusion.

The situation in France appears to be more serious than other recent unrest, such as this year’s protests against pension reform and the yellow vest riots five years ago.

The current wave of unrest is similar to, and perhaps more serious than, the three weeks of riots that followed the electrocution of two teenagers who hid in a power station to escape police in 2005.

In addition, you see that this time it seems that the French police are more wrong, or at least the officer who shot and killed Nael, 17 years old.

It seems that the response of Emmanuel Macron, the French President, was more responsible than that of Nicolas Sarkozy, the Minister of the interior, 18 years ago.

President Macron called the shootings “inexcusable and unforgivable”, while Sarkozy described the teenage dead as looters, sparking tensions in 2005.

The tragedy in both cases is that the rioters often damage their own neighborhoods, setting fire to the shops their families use and destroying the streetcars and buses on which their communities depend.

As the French football team, most of whose members were born in the same suburbs, said in an appeal for calm on Friday, the hooligans are engaged in a “genuine process of self-destruction”.

In the Independent newspaper opinion, the outrage over police violence sparked pent-up grievances against police brutality in multi-ethnic apartment complexes in major cities in France.

In some cases, the anger has mingled with criminal looting, but the underlying resentment is justified.

As if the French police wanted to prove deliberate violence in multi-ethnic societies, the French police unions issued a statement on Friday describing rioters as “insects” and “savage hordes,” and warning that the country was in the midst of a civil war.

Moreover, if we Brits think our police have problems with racist attitudes, the situation in France is even worse.

The problem of social cohesion is also worse, as large numbers of French citizens of North African origin tend to be concentrated in the big cities, where they find the police dealing with them as an occupation.

Macron’s reaction may be appropriate at first, but he needs to launch an urgent program to reform the police and social measures.

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