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8 Jul, 2023 11:11

Paris lashes out over UN reaction to protests

France considers “excessive” the organization’s claims of “racial profiling,” its foreign ministry has said
Paris lashes out over UN reaction to protests

The French foreign ministry has criticized a UN assessment of the most recent violent protests in the country. In a statement released on Saturday, Paris said that it believes the organization’s conclusions about racism in policing went too far.

“France disputes comments that it considers excessive and deplores the forgetting of the unjustifiable violence committed in recent days against the police, elected officials, public services, police stations, schools, social and care centers… the town halls as well as many properties,” the statement from the ministry says.

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) had expressed its concerns over the violent confrontations between police and protesters that continued in the EU country for more than a week. The body made “a number of recommendations to the State regarding racial profiling and excessive use of force by law enforcement officials.”

France’s foreign ministry noted in response that the fight against racism “is a political priority” and added that “any accusation of racism or systemic discrimination by law enforcement in France is unfounded.”

The violence erupted on June 27, after police shot and killed a French-Algerian teenager when he refused to comply at a traffic stop in the Paris suburb of Nanterre. Riots spread across the country, with crowds attacking police with fireworks and Molotov cocktails, while some were filmed brandishing military-grade firearms. The officer responsible for the killing was charged with homicide; however, this failed to curtail the unrest.

While witnesses noted that the violence was mainly instigated by youths from immigrant backgrounds, Paris authorities said that of more than 3,500 people arrested during the riots, only 10% were foreigners.

“The issue today is young offenders, not foreigners,” Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said, noting that those responsible were “90% French.” 

However, not all politicians agreed with Darmanin. Despite their French passports, these “delinquents… shout their hatred of France and burn its flag,” MEP François-Xavier Bellamy wrote in Le Figaro on Wednesday. “Naturalization does not mean assimilation,” Bellamy added.

A week earlier, former presidential candidate Eric Zemmour described the riots as a “race war.”