French newscast RMC opened this morning reporting on the fourth night of rioting in Parisian suburbs which has by now spread to multiple communes in the north of the capital Paris.
Over the weekend in the Parisian suburb of Villeneuve-la-Garenne, French police apparently opened a car door on purpose in order to stop a youngster on a motorbike from getting away from colleagues of them during a lockdown control.
In France, police can hand heavy fines to anyone breaking the lockdown regulations. The young man, who tried to escape one of those controls, is now in hospital with a broken leg.
The events have set off 4 nights of rioting in the Parisian banlieues, where riots and fights with police forces are all too common. Some on social media are calling these quartiers official no-go zones where the police has no jurisdiction and quarantine regulations are not obeyed.
Whereas over the weekend the unrest was located in a single area, the rioting has now spread.
Two weeks ago, there were riots in Brussels, Belgium after a youngster on a motorbike tried to evade police forces who were checking quarantine regulations during the lockdown. They died down after two days.
Mainstream French media are showing the man because of whom this all started in hospital as he calls for calm.
It is clear that tension in France is brewing as to what will happen when the lockdown finally ends.
A week ago, extreme leftwing groups started spreading calls via Facebook and Telegram to organize protests against the French state as soon as the lockdown would end.
Most French commenters seem to take the side of the police in this particular case though and support for President Macron’s measures is still very wide.
Sarkozy in 2005 – Macron in 2020?
France’s ‘banlieues’ (high-rise housing estates on the outskirts of major cities) have long been flashpoints of anger over social and economic grievances. Back in 2005, the unrest lasted three weeks after two youths died fleeing police in a similar northern Paris suburb.
Back then, Nicolas Sarkozy was minister of the interior (became president in 2006) and famously stated he would clean the suburbs like with a Kärcher (water pressure cleaning device). Many have already stated on social media this could become a new 2005 episode.