Emmanuel Macron has canceled a planned trip to Germany to deal with the biggest crisis of his presidency to date. A social explosion has erupted across France, with demonstrations, riots, fires and mass arrests. Concerts, Pride marches, school plays and other events have been suspended after five days of anger and violence.
The young protesters, who make up the majority, express their anger at the death of a 17-year-old boy by police bullets. The victim’s mother’s statement that she sees only the policeman responsible did not prevent the social explosion. Thousands of cars and shops have been burned, and more than 1,300 protesters have been arrested.
Macron, who tried to calm down by attending an Elton John concert on the second night of the incidents, is facing a backlash from the public. The government and security authorities are trying to prevent a repeat of the events of 2005. That year, the deaths of two teenagers who were hidden by police led to three weeks of intense unrest and the declaration of a state of emergency.
The reflection on the French identity
Going back to 2005 brings to mind the reflection on French identity. 18 years ago, we were again talking about the anger of young people from the former French colonies, in the suburbs of Paris, about the “rebellion” of teenagers and old people who felt cut off and with fewer opportunities. Then the question of “identity” and integration was again in focus.