"Violence, Destruction, and Over 1300 Arrests: Unrest Grips Cities Across France"

news 01-Jul-2023 Europe

Violence, Destruction, and Over 1300 Arrests

Burnt vehicles, looted shops: The scenes in Marseille, Lyon, and Paris are similar. For the fourth consecutive night, violence erupted in many places, resulting in over 1300 arrests. Just three days ago, President Emmanuel Macron was in Marseille on the Mediterranean coast. At the beginning of the week, he had promised to implement Phase two of his 5-billion-euro plan "Marseille en grand" ("Marseille on a large scale") faster than before. However, renovated schools or a new tram line apparently do not suffice for the city marked by poverty and gang crime in many neighborhoods.

"Macron, Take Action!"

Last night, Marseille was the hotspot. Plundering was widespread. Alexander's tobacco shop was also affected. He expressed his shock on the news channel BFM-TV. "I wake up at 5 am, work, give my best. I had to declare my three employees unemployed. I have nothing left; everything is broken. Macron, take action! This cannot go on. I am leaving the country because chaos reigns here."

A similar situation is seen in Lyon. "I found my cash register 500 meters away. They cleared everything out. Those who came at 4 am were angry because there was not much left. These were youth gangs - five, ten, fifteen strong," reported a owner of a destroyed swimwear store. The police were busy elsewhere and had too few personnel.

Until 5 am, he tried to clean up to reopen today. "It disgusts me. What have I done to them? They just wanted to destroy everything. Now I want to file a complaint, but the queue is too long.

" Public Transport Suspended

The decision to suspend buses and trains nationwide from 9 pm for security reasons caused further agitation. In some places in Paris, public transport was already halted at 7 pm.

Hate videos and calls for violence are circulating on the internet. Government representatives met with platform representatives, who refused to be made the scapegoat. President Macron insists: "Violence is organized through networks. With the youngest, it seems to lead to an escape from the real world, and it seems that some are acting out their video games on the streets."

Le Pen Suggests State of Emergency

Furthermore, a letter from France's two largest police unions is causing a stir. They claim to be at "war" and fighting against "vermin" and "wild hordes." Their language echoes that of far-right faction leader Marine Le Pen. She demands, "In the face of hordes seized by boundless destructive rage, there is no other solution but to restore order to the republic through local curfews, and if the situation persists or worsens - through a state of emergency."

Her party leader Jordan Bardella, who grew up in a suburb himself, stated that finances were not the problem in the suburbs; there has been an overflow of money. Everything has been given to these neighborhoods.

There are more than ten plans to make the suburbs more dynamic. For Bardella, the issues lie in culture and security, ultimately in immigration. Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin has already presented a new law on this matter, which may face challenges in Parliament.

Over 1300 Arrests

Last night, the Interior Minister seemed to have miscalculated. He initially spoke of less intensity in the riots. However, the number of arrests quickly reached a record high - over 1300 - indicating a stronger police response. The number of looting incidents also multiplied. On the other hand, fewer cars were set on fire, and fewer policemen were injured.

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