‘Calm will return to France only with change of government’ – National Front’s Patricia Chagnon
There have been yet more angry protests against police brutality across France with Paris seeing the biggest gathering in one of its main squares. Demonstrators have been throwing rocks and smoke grenades at police and several arrests have been made.
Sporadic protests and violence have been seen over the past two weeks both in the capital and other French cities. Demonstrations were triggered by accusations of a policeman sexually assaulting a 22-year-old man in a Paris suburb earlier this month.
RT: Protesters have been coming out in force almost daily against police brutality. Is there a solution to stopping this wave of unrest?
Patricia Chagnon: I think there should be a very clear message from the government in support of our police. It is totally unacceptable that since this incident happened that people have been gathering, people with political backgrounds or unions in support of the people making the demonstrations. Let’s be very clear. If there was an assault, the investigation is on course and it will be investigated. This matter is being investigated. And what is being done at the moment is that the protests are being fueled by people who definitely do not want to wait for the results of this investigation and just use it as an excuse for demonstrating and wreaking havoc all over France.
RT: The French government this week allowed police greater powers to open fire on demonstrators. How is that going to affect tensions, do you think?
PC: I think it is trying to wipe the floor with the taps still open and the water is still running. What has happened over the past years in France is that the government has abandoned certain neighborhoods and law and order has withdrawn from these neighborhoods in France handing it over to drug dealers and Islamists. And they are the ones, there are zones where today people cannot go and they are being allowed to go into those areas by these drug dealers or Islamists. Today we see that this is spilling over into other aspects of society; it was in the center of Paris today. So, the government by saying ‘all right, okay, we can use gun fire’ is definitely showing that it is totally incapable of solving the problem at the root, tackling the problem at the root, showing it is totally hopeless and doesn’t know what to do in front of this situation, which is turning really bad.
RT: Critics say President Hollande is betraying the people who voted him into office. Is that really fair, he has had to tackle serious security issues in recent years?
PC: François Hollande’s five years of presidency have been a total catastrophe for France. And this is just one other example of how he has put himself and France in a lose-lose situation. It is time that this country changes its government and its president. We fortunately have elections coming up…Our police should be supported because they have been going through very rough times with the terrorist attacks, we have a state of emergency, we have terrible problems with our migrants. Our security forces are working very hard to keep the French people safe. They should be complemented for this, we should support them and the government should support them. And I think once that is being restored, once we restore the respect for our police and our security forces in France, that will solve the problem…
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.