President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday that France needed to “restore authority at all levels” in response to unrest sparked by the recent police shooting of a teenage driver.
The killing of 17-year-old Nahel M. in a traffic stop last month sparked protests, riots and looting, with many accusing the government of allowing a culture of institutional racism in the police force to fester.
Macron condemned the “burning of schools, town halls, gymnasiums and libraries”, saying: “The lesson I have learned from this is order, order, order.”
“Order must prevail,” Macron said on French television during a visit to the French overseas territory of New Caledonia, adding: “There is no freedom without order.”
“Our country needs to restore authority at every level, starting with the family,” Macron said.
The president also reiterated his previous criticism of the social network’s role in the riots and looting, saying a “public digital order” was needed to “stop excesses.”
Macron sparked outrage earlier this month when he called to “cut off” social media amid widespread unrest.
Many young people have used social media to organize parties and riots, he said.
Macron went on to say that more investment must be made to provide young people with alternatives to protest and incitement to unrest.
“We have to invest heavily in young people and give them a framework,” he said.
Nearly half of the roughly 1,300 people charged for alleged involvement in the riots were under the age of 18.
The most intense urban violence since 2005 has sparked debates about law and order, immigration, racism and police brutality.
read moreFrance Considers Itself Colorblind – So How Do The French Talk About Race?
Following a cabinet reshuffle, Macron warned last week that the unrest highlighted “the risk of a fragmented and deeply divided country”.
He told a cabinet meeting on Friday that “authority and respect are needed” and asked the new government to “learn from what happened and provide reasonable answers”.
Macron’s office said last week that New Caledonia was the first stop on a Pacific tour of Macron that also included Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea, during which he was expected to present a “French alternative” to the region amid tensions between the United States and China.
(AFP France 24 hours news)