French President Emmanuel Macron was captured on video dad-dancing during an Elton John concert during the hit song “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting.” Elton John is on a farewell tour and was in Paris for the final concert in France, during which he also sang “Burning Down the Mission.”
Outside, North African youth were literally burning down parts of France for the fourth night, and people were fighting in the streets as riots consume the country following the police shooting of a 17-year-old driver of North African descent.
The New York Times characterized it as “protesting.” Washington Post said it was due to France’s police brutality in the same way riots in America were blamed on the police killing of George Floyd in 2020, during the middle of a presidential election year. In a sense, this is France’s George Floyd moment, but the difference is that President Macron is an unabashed socialist; he was finance minister under Socialist President François Hollande.
But video from bystanders show major fires raging in cities in France, the burned-out husks of buses, and people battling off the rioters with baseball bats and sticks in hand-to-hand combat in the streets. Reports of tourists being trapped in buses, and there are reports of deaths. Police have arrested more than 1,300.
How the media is covering it and how countries are reacting around the world, according to LeMonde:
China, usually quick to report social tensions and police violence in Western countries, has limited its coverage. “This possibly is another sign of how Beijing has been trying to spare French President Emmanuel Macron, who is the country’s privileged European interlocutor since his last visit to China in April,” the newspaper said.
Russian media, however, is covering the events “with a mix of bewilderment and rejoicing.” On Thursday evening’s prime-time news in Russia, viewers saw video of two towns in the Paris region, with amateur footage of clashes, fires, and destruction. The newscast also reported social media users were “actively discussing” Macron’s presence at an Elton John concert “at the time of the worst clashes.”
CNN reports the riots as a “wave of protests,” sparking a “ban on demonstrations in some cities, travel warnings and reigniting a debate on over-policing in marginalized communities.”
The major network pretzeled itself to avoid saying these were North African immigrants and their offspring who were rioting. Instead, CNN wrote, “Scenes emerged of people setting fires to vehicles and climbing onto buildings with smashed windows, while riot police officers fiercely clashed with demonstrators.” The word riot was applied to police, rather than rioters.
CNN further wrote that the rioters, which CNN says are “activists” believe Nahel’s race was a factor in his killing, “unraveling deep-rooted tensions over police discrimination against minoritized communities in France.”
“Minoritized” is a word that has emerged from the Left to replace the term “minority.”
AlJazeera was more forthcoming than mainstream U.S. media: Paul Brennan, reporting from Nanterre, said some towns are “taking matters into their own hands”.
“For example, Marseille has banned public gatherings. Toulouse is stopping short, it’s not imposing a curfew as yet, but many cities and towns are taking their public transport off the roads,” Brennan said, AlJazeera reported.
“In the last hour, we’ve seen footage on social media suggesting down in the south of Paris … daylight looting has been taking place,” Brennan added.
Teenage groups are also targeting shopping malls during the day, and are “sweeping through with high speed,” Brennan said.
Some French territories are also seeing violence. In French Guiana in the French Caribbean, police came under fire and a government worker was shot to death in Cayenne, reportedly by a stray bullet. Other damage includes dumpsters being set on fire and buildings being vandalized, along with looting of stores. French Guiana is on the Atlantic coast in northern South America. Riots, looting, and vandalism were also reported on the Indian Ocean Island of La Reunion, a French territory.