French President Emmanuel Macron has faced criticism for attending an Elton John concert in Paris while riots continue to ravage the country. The riots were sparked by the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old of North African descent by French police. Macron’s decision to party with Elton John the day after the shooting has been deemed inappropriate and insensitive by critics.
Thierry Mariani, an MEP with Marine Le Pen’s National Rally, called Macron “totally irresponsible” and quoted Ecclesiastes, stating, “Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child.” The image of Macron, his wife Brigitte, and Elton John and his husband David Furnish arm-in-arm was shared on Instagram but later taken down due to negative comments.
The public expressed outrage over Macron’s actions, with one person stating, “France is burning, and the president of France is going to the Elton John concert. Macron is below everything.” Macron has frequently been accused of being out of touch with the general public, given his background as a former investment banker.
Despite attending the concert, Macron condemned the riots, describing them as “unjustifiable.” In a speech to ministers, he acknowledged the “inexplicable and unforgivable” nature of the shooting and expressed concern about the violence directed at institutions and the Republic. To combat the riots, an additional 45,000 police officers, including special forces, have been deployed to the streets, and over 1,300 arrests have been made.
Macron has accused the rioters of exploiting the death of the 17-year-old and has urged parents to keep their children at home. He also called on social media platforms like TikTok and Snapchat to remove sensitive content and help identify those responsible for organizing the protests.
The shooting of Nahel M, who was shot at point-blank range after refusing to stop for a traffic stop, has raised serious questions about racism within the French police force. The UN’s human rights office has called on France to address the deep-rooted issues of racism within law enforcement. Dominique Sopo of SOS Racisme, a human rights organization, emphasized the need to tackle the systemic racism within the police force and ensure equal treatment for all citizens.
This issue of racial bias within police forces is not unique to France. The UK’s London Metropolitan Police were found to be “institutionally racist, misogynistic, and homophobic,” according to an official report. Similarly, US police forces have been involved in racially charged incidents, including the killing of George Floyd, which ignited nationwide protests and riots.
As the riots in France continue to escalate, it is crucial for authorities to address the underlying issues of racism and police brutality. Macron’s attendance at the concert has only fueled criticism of his leadership and highlighted the disconnect between the president and the people he represents. The focus should be on finding solutions and implementing systemic changes to prevent further tragedies and unrest.