Skip to content

France Engulfed In Chaos As Social Revolt Sparks Nationwide Unrest

Riots, looting, and arrests grip the country as deep-rooted tensions and a bleak future fuel anger among the youth.

Since June 27th, France has been immersed in absolute chaos, the result of a revolt that has caused an authentic social explosion. Over six nights from Tuesday till Sunday, hundreds of people have been arrested – some days the figure has approached a thousand – anarchy has taken over in several cities with shops being looted from Paris to Marseille, a curfew has been imposed in some towns, public transport throughout the country has been halted nightly at 9pm and more than 45,000 officers are being deployed on French streets.

Only a decision to send in the troops, a step which has already been called for by some political parties and mayors, is left as a measure still pending in the large-scale deployment carried out by the authorities, which, at the time of writing, had produced little result. A local mayor from the southern suburbs of Paris, Vincent Jeambrum, of L’Haÿ-les-Roses denounced an attack on his home by a car in the small hours of Sunday morning. 

Police personnel detain suspects on a street in Nice, south-eastern France late July 1, 2023, during the fifth night of rioting following the shooting of a teenage driver in the Parisian suburb of Nanterre on June 27. PHOTO BY VALERY HACHE/GETTY IMAGES 

Although the grandmother of Nahel M., the 17-year-old killed by a policeman in Nanterre whose death was the origin of the street revolt, has called for an end to the rioting that is shaking the whole of France, there is nothing to make one think that this will all settle down in the short term. The tension generated has very deep roots and the young people who live on the outskirts of the large cities feel helpless and without any decent future to look forward to. That was not the case of their parents, who did find a better future by fleeing Africa decades ago.

Today’s young people feel condemned for the rest of their lives to be second-class French. No possibility of access to an acceptable standard of living. And, faced with this, the state’s response is permanently insufficient to appease the anger, despair, unemployment and misery in which such turmoil tends to develop.

Macron, a mediocre politician who is far removed from having statesmanship, lacks the agility and the appropriate political preparation to turn around the situation, beyond applying police measures to lower the tension in the streets. An outlook that is too bleak, right at our borders and all this in a Europe that is going from one convulsion to another: war in Ukraine or the recent mutiny against Vladimir Putin.

Produced in association with El Nacional En

(Additional reporting provided by El Nacional En)

“What’s the latest with Florida Man?”

Get news, handpicked just for you, in your box.

Check out our free email newsletters

Recommended from our partners