After the death of a teenager, killed during a traffic check in the Hauts-de-Seine, urban violence broke out. The government wants to calm the situation, but when the left calls for a debate, the right and the extreme right ask for more firmness.
Another night of urban violence. After the death of Nahel, this 17-year-old teenager killed by a shot from a policeman during a road check, Tuesday in Nanterre (Hauts-de-Seine), several cities in Ile-de-France and in other regions were set ablaze. In total, during the night from Wednesday to Thursday, there were 159 arrests, 133 police officers and gendarmes were injured, 27 police premises were attacked and 22 public buildings, including eight town halls, were set on fire or damaged. This Thursday evening, the police force will be reinforced.
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It is a complicated sequence for the executive, which seeks a return to calm, pressed by the contradictory injunctions of the oppositions. At a press conference, Eric Ciotti, the boss of the Republicans solemnly reiterated his request to Emmanuel Macron to declare a state of emergency. A request rejected for the moment by the government.
A state of emergency which is also claimed on the far right by Eric Zemmour or by Jordan Bardella, the president of the National Rally: “The French, especially in these neighborhoods, and especially the police officers, are extremely worried about the hours to come. When we burn town halls, schools, police stations, when we attack representatives of the authority of the state, we are not a victim, we are a criminal who must be very severely punished. Law and order must return to French territory.”
On this point, the rights and the executive are aligned. For Emmanuel Macron, the violence is unjustified. 40,000 police and gendarmes will be mobilized, and the BRI, the Raid and the GIGN are ready to be engaged if necessary, according to a police source at franceinfo. “To attack symbols of the Republic is absolutely intolerable” judge for her part the Prime Minister traveling to Garges-les-Gonesse, where the town hall was attacked overnight from Wednesday to Thursday. On the ground, the Minister of the Interior and the Minister of Justice promise that the rioters will be identified and punished. “Justice does not come to the streets”, warns Éric Dupond-Moretti. While Eric Ciotti points to the responsibility of the extreme left which, according to him, called for the riot, Eric Dupond-Moretti declares that “all those who spit on the police and on justice are the moral accomplices of the abuses that are committed”.
“We do not respond to anger with the Raid and the GIGN”
The left, for its part, continues to demand a political response to the crisis. “We do not respond to anger with the Raid and the GIGN. We respond to it with justice and with an in-depth reform of the police” says the rebellious Manuel Bompard. The left wants a debate on systemic violence, which the right and the majority refuse. La France insoumise is also tabling a bill to repeal the 2017 law on refusal to comply.
LFI deputy for Val-d’Oise Paul Vannier was with Elisabeth Borne on Thursday morning during his trip to Garges-les-Gonesse. He repeated to him that he had to move: “We feel that what we have been denouncing for years, alone, being very criticized, when we said that the police kill, we were not mistaken. The country is calling for it, the public debate has evolved, it is time to move on It’s the political responses that will help calm the situation. It’s this way of saying, ‘Calm down and move on’ that has become unbearable.”
A field on which the executive does not want to go. “For six years, we refused to legislate urgently” provides a power advisor. The proof that justice works, according to Elisabeth Borne: the prosecution requested the indictment for intentional homicide of the police officer and his placement in detention. This Thursday evening, it’s done. Justice is moving forward, but politics must follow, insists Jean-Luc Mélenchon for his part.