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French President Emmanuel Macron faced backlash for attending an Elton John concert on Thursday night while Paris and the rest of the country have been engulfed by violent protests.
Video of Macron shows him dancing to Elton John’s “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting.”
As protesters burn French cities, Macron lights up at Elton John concert in Paris
The President of France in these shots is in a great mood, he enjoys music with his wife and dances a little. pic.twitter.com/v1CSKI7WB8
— Spriter Team (@SpriterTeam) June 30, 2023
Opposition minister Thierry Mariani of the National Rally Party said Macron’s attendance was “totally irresponsible,” and pointed out that while “France was on fire, Macron preferred to applaud Elton John,” according to Fox News. Mariani even quoted the book of Ecclesiastes from the Old Testament, “Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child,” the Independent reported.
Elton John’s husband, David Furnish, posted a photo of the two with Macron to Instagram, but the post has since been deleted. Commenters attacked the post as “wrong timing,” and another commented, “Macron is below everything,” according to NDTV. A third commenter pulled no punches saying, “At the same time a child was killed by police under his government, he’s enjoying a show. Disgrace on Macron.”
The concert took place on Thursday night with the protests having begun on Tuesday, and yet France is well into its fifth night of protesting on Saturday — 45,000 police were deployed to the streets of France to combat the rioting.
The incident that sparked the rioting occurred Tuesday, when a police officer shot and killed Nahel M. during a traffic stop in Nanterre, west of Paris. According to Reuters, the teenager was driving in the bus lane during a traffic jam when he was pulled over, but refused to provide a license and then tried to drive away. The officer shot him in the left arm and chest, according to the Nanterre public prosecutor, who added that the officer feared the teenager would start a car chase and injure others. Police said Nahel M. had been known to ignore traffic stops before.
“He had to be stopped, but obviously (the officer) didn’t want to kill the driver,” the police officer’s attorney stated.
Video in Paris shows one protester armed with what appears to be a belt-fed machine gun.
The rioters have belt-fed weapons. This isn’t Gaza or Libya, it’s France. pic.twitter.com/hZJGTDcss0
— TimOnPoint (@TimOnPoint) July 1, 2023
Witnesses have also captured buildings collapsing and others completely engulfed in fire.
This isn’t Syria, Iraq, or Afghanistan. This is France where 9% of the population has brought down entire cities!
— MUHAMMAD ZAIN ASIF (@sonicm35) July 1, 2023
A building burned down after a robbery collapsed in #France
— Arthur Morgan (@ArthurM40330824) July 1, 2023
Further video shows hundreds of protesters who appear to be looting and destroying property, and one video shows a bus driving through flames.
France is having its very own George Floyd moment as massive riots, sparked by the police shooting death of a 17 year old, occur all across the country. pic.twitter.com/2wbYYW4xLe
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) June 29, 2023
On Saturday, hundreds of Muslims in France held a procession for the deceased Nahel M. The Associated Press reported that President Macron canceled his trip to Germany amid the state of the country.
Hank Berrien contributed to this report.