French president Macron attacks democratic rights

This video says about itself:

One Year After Paris Attacks, France Moving Towards Permanent State of Emergency

17 November 2016

French human rights and civil liberties activist Yasser Louati says extreme measures of mass surveillance targeting Muslims are not effective in deterring terrorism.

Translated from Dutch daily De Volkskrant:

Macron‘s new anti-terrorist law causes protests: ‘Freedom of citizens is affected’

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other human rights organizations have protested against French president Macron‘s a new anti-terrorist law. Macron wants to cancel the state of emergency on 1 November, but wants to transfer parts of it to normal law. For example, the freedom of movement of a suspect can be restricted without prior permission from a judge.

By Peter Giesen July 2, 2017, 9:25 PM

‘An unacceptable transfusion of the state of emergency to ordinary law’, jurist Paul Cassia judged. “The freedom of citizens can be affected on the basis of simple suspicion.” …

These are people who can not be addressed by criminal law because there are insufficient elements justifying a judicial inquiry. …

However, according to Amnesty International, many people have been wrongly given house arrest. Since November 2015, this measure has been imposed on 612 people, of whom 66 still are on house arrest now. In no case anyone has been accused of terrorism, according to Amnesty.

However, spectacular misses have become known. Thus Halim Abdelmalek received house arrest because he was supposed to have taken photographs of Riss, the chief editor of Charlie Hebdo. In fact, he spoke in his phone after visiting his mother who lived in the same complex.

Because it is almost always Muslims who are the victims of such mistakes, too stringent anti-terrorism measures can be experienced as discriminatory, said Jacques Toubon, the défenseur de droits, a sort of ombudsman. Consequently, national cohesion is endangered, Toubon said. …

However, the CNCDH Human Rights Commission speaks of a “permanent state of emergency”.

French State of the Union: ‘monarchical theater play’?

President Macron will today pronounce a French variant of the US State of the Union. To this end he convened Congress in Versailles, the joint assembly of the National Assembly and the Senate. Macron has hinted that he wants to make this an annual tradition.

The convening of Congress is heavily criticized by the opposition, which believes that the French president is increasingly assuming monarchical pretensions. The radical left-wing La France Insoumise of Jean-Luc Mélenchon will boycott Congress. “I do not feel like going to Versailles to listen to the Sun King,” said MP François Ruffin.

The right-wing Republicans will come, but are very critical. “Congress must come together to debate constitutional reforms, not to improve the image of the president,” said Damien Abad.

The French State of the Union replaces the television interview with the president on July 14, a tradition established by Giscard d’Estaing in the 1970s. According to Macron‘s entourage, the president’s mindset is “too complex” for a question and answer game with a journalist. However, critics believe that he does not like critical questions and prefers a quasi-monarchical theater play amidst the splendor of Versailles.

The Versailles palace was built when France was an absolute monarchy, making it possible for the king to be away from critical people in the capital Paris.

Islamophobic attack on French mosque

This 2013 video is about the mosque in Créteil in France.

Unfortunately, terrorism against mosques with cars happens not just in London. Fortunately, this time the results were not as bloody as in London.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Man tries to crush crowd at mosque near Paris with car

Today, 21:12

French police has arrested a man who tried to drive a car into a crowd of people in front of a mosque. There were no injured people.

The incident happened in Créteil, near Paris. The man did not manage to hit people with his four-wheel drive, because there were wickets and other obstacles near the mosque. The man was arrested at home later on.

… The newspaper Le Parisien reports that the man said he wanted to take revenge for the recent terrorist attacks in Paris.

Macron’s Pyrrhic French parliamentary election victory

This video says about itself:

State of Emergency in France: 2,200 Police Raids, 3 Closed Mosques, Hundreds of Muslims Detained

4 December 2015

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve announced Wednesday that authorities had carried out more than 2,200 raids since a state of emergency was declared following the November 13 attacks that killed 130 people. Under the state of emergency, French police can raid any home without judicial oversight. In addition, police have held 263 people for questioning – nearly all have been detained. Another 330 people are under house arrest, and three mosques have also been shut down. The vast majority of those targeted in the raids have been Muslim. We speak with Yasser Louati, spokesperson and head of the International Relations Desk for the Collective Against Islamophobia in France.

By Alex Lantier in France:

Mass abstention overshadows Macron victory in French legislative elections

12 June 2017

A historic level of abstention dominated the first round of the French legislative elections yesterday, which gave newly-elected President Emmanuel Macron’s party The Republic On the March (LREM) a large majority. But fully 51.2 percent of voters abstained—the first time since the end of World War II that only a minority of registered voters participated in the legislative elections.

Workers and youth overwhelmingly stayed away from the polls. Although 70 percent of retirees voted in the elections, approximately 30 percent of voters aged under thirty went to vote. Opinion polls carried out in the days before the elections showed that 56 percent of the so-called “popular categories,” comprising manual workers and employees, planned to abstain.

This is a resoundingly negative judgment of the French population on the media campaign to promote Macron’s counter-revolutionary program proposing to create a permanent state of emergency, slashing attacks on labor protections, and a return to the draft.

It appears that the legislative elections—whose purpose was to determine, as Le Monde wrote, whether Macron will have “unchecked powers” to impose his program—will produce an overwhelming LREM majority in the Assembly. However, even if the electoral mechanisms grant Macron an unchallenged hold over the legislature, this majority—elected by only a minority of the population—will have no legitimacy to impose his program.

LREM obtained 32 percent of the vote, against 21 percent for the right-wing The Republicans (LR), 13.9 percent for the neo-fascist National Front, 10.9 percent for the Unsubmissive France (UF) of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, 13.3 percent for the Socialist Party (PS), and 3.3 percent for the … French Communist Party (PCF). The candidates of Lutte ouvrière (LO, Workers Struggle) and the New Anti-capitalist Party (NPA) together obtained only 0.08 percent of the vote.

Nonetheless, given the electoral set-up—one needs to obtain a number of votes greater than 12.5 percent of the registered voters to advance to the second round, which is carried simply by whoever gets the most votes—LREM can hope to obtain a lopsided majority in the Assembly.

Though it only obtained the votes of 16 percent of registered voters, LREM may have, according to initial projections based on yesterday’s vote, a crushing majority of 400 to 450 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly. LR would have 70 to 110 seats, the PS 20 to 30, a UF-PCF coalition 8 to 18, and the FN 7 to 12.

Initial analyses of LREM’s vote point to its very heterogeneous and therefore fragile character. In Paris, LREM’s vague promises of reform and modernization allowed it to carry both the very bourgeois 16th district, as well as the working-class neighborhoods of the 19th district.

Numerous politicians and media commentators openly worried that the abstention meant that Macron’s lack of democratic legitimacy will have serious political consequences when he sets out to enforce his agenda on the population.

“Our democracy cannot allow itself to be sick,” declared PS First Secretary Jean-Christophe Cambadélis, who added: “It is neither healthy nor desirable for a president who obtained only 24 percent of the vote on the first round and won the second round purely on the basis of popular rejection of the National Front, to have a monopoly of democratic representation.”

Last night, France Info commented: “It’s a black mark, even a very black mark: the future National Assembly will give an image that is only a political caricature of France. And this is not a sign of good health in a democracy.”

The Macron government was reduced to appealing to voters to participate in greater numbers in the second round of the legislative elections this coming Sunday. “You were less numerous to vote” than in the presidential elections, declared Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, who added that he felt obliged to “insist on the necessity that voters go vote next Sunday.”

These elections are marked by a crying contradiction. There is broad opposition to the program of austerity, military mobilization, and police-state rule that Macron has developed in collaboration with Berlin and the European Union (EU). However, LREM—founded last year by Macron, then the economy minister in the despised PS government of then-President François Hollande—has been able to establish itself over a few months as France’s main bourgeois party, winning over large factions of the PS and LR.

The PS was the leading party since shortly after its foundation in 1971. It won a 331-seat majority in the Assembly after the 2012 elections, but after Hollande’s presidency, it is now set to be reduced to an impotent rump. It is paying the price for having carried out unpopular policies of imperialist war and social austerity every time it took power. Large sections of its personnel are seeking to recycle themselves politically by joining LREM.

Many other high-ranking PS and Green legislators have been eliminated, however: Cambadélis, PS presidential candidate Benoît Hamon, former PS Interior Minister Matthias Fekl, former PS Justice Minister Elizabeth Guigou, and former Green Party leader Cécile Duflot. …

Macron will, nonetheless, face explosive opposition in the working class, under conditions where mass abstention has deprived the Assembly of any semblance of legitimacy to impose his reactionary program.

IN A SHARP contrast to last week’s general election in the UK which saw a massive turnout of workers and young people to vote for Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party in order to deal a massive blow to the Tories and against austerity, the parliamentary elections in France over the weekend produced the lowest turnout since the end of the second world war: here.

The record 57 percent abstention in the second round of the French legislative elections constitutes the initial verdict of the French people on the political program announced by Emmanuel Macron since his election as president on May 7. His anti-democratic policy of imposing a permanent state of emergency, dictating austerity by decree and militarizing the country elicits only hostility or indifference among a large majority of the population: here.