by Egbert Nobakkon, 1 July 2023
Social unrest continued to spread in the cities and large towns of France cities for a fourth consecutive night last night, with hundreds of buildings and vehicles set ablaze. President Emmanuel Macron's government struggled to contain the violence, which was sparked on Tuesday after a teenager was shot dead by a police officer.
|Police fire tear gas at rioters in Marsailles today (Picture: Screen grab from BBC News)|
Siobhan Robbins, reporting for UK's Sky news said "If I was to put money on it I would say that we're going to see another night of violence tonight," while covering a story of a on a gun store that was looted.
Videos posted on social media have shown residents of the city of Marseille bracing for another night of clashes as rioting started early (see to picture). Amateur videos circulating on Snapchat featured business owners on one of the main shopping streets, Rue Saint-Ferréol, boarding up their storefronts with large sheets of wood.
In one video a shop owner was pictured a drill to secure a large sheet of plywood to the front of his shop, while other businesses in the area - including a Dr Martens outlet - were also secured.
In an update on Saturday, France's Interior Ministry said 2,500 fires were reported overnight. Rioters set fire to 1,350 vehicles and 235 buildings nationwide. About 1,300 people were arrested, while the government mobilized 45,000 police officers with armored vehicles to quell the violence.
According to The Telegraph, French police said they were "at war" with "savage hordes of vermin" on Friday night. The country's top police unions threatened revolt unless Macron's government restored law and order.
"Today the police are in combat because we are at war. Tomorrow we will enter resistance and the government should be aware of this," police unions said.
The most concerning aspect of this latest outbreak of lawlessness and violence in France is that French police unions threaten to protest if the government refuses to clamp down hard on the rioting. France is now in a state of near anarchy with many middle and working class communities still unhappy about Presdent Macron's undemocratic reforms to the pension system which triggered rioting among the white working classes earlier this year. The latest outbreak was triggered by the shooting of a young man from the immigrant community as he tried to drive away from a routine traffic stop. French police said they were "at war" with "savage hordes of vermin," language which is hardly likely to help calm the situation. Right wing commentators in France described the riots as further decay and one step closer to societal collapse. It will be a long summer in Europe. Are these organized rioters attempting a 'color revolution' in France?