As riots spread, Macron faces a crisis in France

On June 29, 2023, in Garges-les-Gonesse, a town north of Paris, a police officer stands in front of the burned-out...

For French President Emmanuel Macron, the recent rioting is the stuff of nightmares.

The persistent French crisis-in-waiting that is the can now be added to the list of other civil order crises he has had to overcome, including terrorism, yellow vests, and left-wing protests over pensions. the banlieue. either a suburb.

Rioting has occasionally broken out in the suburbs over the past 18 years. cités. or the once-immigrant residents of tenements, who are now frequently third or fourth generation French.

They tended not to last longer than one or two nights and were frequently brought on by the unintentional death or injury of a young male resident, an accident that was put on the police.

A prolonged trauma of the kind that threatens now hasn't happened since 2005.   .

Both then and now, troubled banlieues burned to the ground across the nation one by one as neighboring suburbs imitated what had already happened.

Town halls, police stations, and schools—basically any structure that might be flying a French flag—were the primary targets back then, as they are today (outside of the simple prey of parked cars).

A police officer stands in front of the burnt facade of the Hotel du ville in Garges-les-Gonesse, north of Paris on June 29, 2023,
One of the targets for rioters on Wednesday night was the Gonesse town hall near Paris.

Social neglect, racial discrimination, and police brutality were the protesters' rallying cries at the time. slogans that haven't changed much from yesterday.

However, a lot of things have changed.

Consider the hundreds of millions of euros being spent on the Grand Paris Express project, which is constructing new tram and metro lines throughout the suburbs and addressing the social isolation that was once considered to be one of the main complaints in the banlieues.

Take a look at the brand-new public structures in Paris suburbs like Massy or Nanterre. I can't think of a word to describe neglect.

Look at the increasing number of people with African or Maghrebi origins who are currently working in law enforcement; this is a significant increase from 2005. Or look at initiatives to increase the number of banlieue residents enrolling in prestigious colleges and universities.

And take note of how language in general has evolved. Old-fashioned bigotry against minorities, which might have gotten a pass two or three decades ago, will now likely result in condemnation, if not prosecution.

The key point is that France is evolving just like the rest of the world.

However, everyone in France is also aware that the banlieues problem is a lingering, ancient wound that has been neglected.   .

French riot police react amid clashes with protesters during a march in tribute to Nahel, a 17-year-old teenager killed by a French police officer during a traffic stop, in Nanterre
As the French government works to quell the anger of the protesters, security has been increased in the suburbs of France.

It is a scar brought about by colonialism, haughtiness, long-ago wars, and cultivated animosities, to which one might add drugs, crime, and religion. Additionally, it is not about to vanish.

Despite fervently hoping that the banlieue phenomenon would not be added to his long list of troubles, his wish has not come true.

In the hopes that a shock from a massive deployment will put an end to the riots, police officers will be deployed in droves throughout the suburbs this evening.

President Macron is aware of his past, though.   .

He is aware that the 2005 riots lasted three weeks and were only put an end after a state of emergency with curfews and house arrests was declared.

Although we haven't arrived yet, we might soon.

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