French President Emmanuel Macron has expressed his belief that social media platforms and video games have played a role in fueling the recent riots that have swept across France. The riots were sparked by the death of a 17-year-old at the hands of law enforcement and have resulted in widespread unrest throughout the country.
During an emergency security meeting held to address the ongoing riots, Macron highlighted that a significant proportion of those arrested in the past few nights were young individuals. He suggested that the internet, specifically platforms like Snapchat and TikTok, had provided a platform for violent gatherings to be organized. Macron also noted a concerning trend of young people mimicking the violence they see online, leading them to lose touch with reality.
The president further added that the influence of video games was also evident, stating that some youths were acting out the virtual violence that had intoxicated them. In light of this, Macron urged parents to keep their children at home to prevent them from getting caught up in the riots.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin echoed Macron’s concerns about the role of social media and issued a warning to social media sites not to host content that promotes violence or glorifies the riots. He promised to take “all necessary measures” to ensure that social networks comply with the law. Additionally, Darmanin ordered the shutdown of certain forms of public transit, which had become a target for vandals.
The riots initially started in Nanterre, a suburb of Paris, following the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old pizza delivery driver by a police officer during a traffic stop. The officer responsible was swiftly arrested and charged with homicide, but the incident prompted a call for vengeance from the teen’s mother.
The unrest quickly escalated throughout the week, spreading to other major cities such as Marseille, where rioters reportedly ransacked a gun store, and police stations were attacked. Darmanin revealed that a total of 917 people, with an average age of just 17, have been detained by the police thus far.
The situation has demanded a significant police presence, with approximately 45,000 officers deployed to restore order. Two major police unions have demanded a crackdown on the demonstrators, referring to them as a “wild horde.” They warned that if the government fails to restore order, law enforcement would become “the resistance” in response.
As of Friday afternoon, the riots had resulted in nearly 4,000 fires, over 2,000 destroyed cars, and approximately 500 damaged buildings. Macron, who had to return early from an EU summit due to the violence, expressed his concern over the extent of the damage caused.
In summary, President Macron and Interior Minister Darmanin have identified social media platforms and video games as factors that have contributed to the recent riots in France. The influence of these online platforms and virtual violence has led some young people to engage in violent gatherings and mimic the violent behavior they see online. The government is taking measures to address this issue, including warning social media sites and shutting down public transit. The protests initially erupted in response to the death of a 17-year-old, and they have since spread to various cities across the country, resulting in significant damage. Law enforcement is working to restore order, but two major police unions have warned that they will become “the resistance” if the government fails to act.