After riots broke out across France over the weekend, President Emmanuel Macron suggested that the government explore restricting young people’s access to social media.
In a meeting with more than 200 mayors, Macron reportedly said that when things get chaotic, France should consider restricting or cutting young people’s access to social media altogether. His words come as France braces for widespread violence after a police officer shot and killed a Muslim teen last week during a traffic check. Macron suggested that the riots were partly caused by using social media platforms like TikTok for mob organizations.
Consideration must be given to how today’s youth utilize social media. Macron warned that if chaos ensued, authorities could intervene by imposing new regulations or shutting down the service.
Both left and right-leaning politicians said the prime minister’s proposal would turn France into a dictatorship.
Olivier Marleix, a member of the center-right Les Républicains, stated that even if Macron was trying to be provocative, as a distraction, “it’s in very bad taste.”
Even Socialist Party head Olivier Faure tweeted his disapproval of Macron’s plan, mocking the idea of aligning itself with those “great democracies” of Russia, China, and Iran.
Disturbances were recorded over the weekend from Roubaix in the north to Marseille in the south. A dozen buses were destroyed in Paris, and store windows were shattered along the Rue de Rivoli. A commercial complex was destroyed, and the greatest library in France was torched. A fire was also started at the Seine-Saint-Denis headquarters of the Paris 2024 Olympic bid.
The BBC claimed that despite France’s deployment of 45,000 police to quell the unrest, rioters started over 800 fires on Saturday night. Since the unrest began, French firms have been estimated to have lost over $1 billion.
Prosecutor Pascal Prache of Nanterre said that French police tried to pull over Merzouk for running a red light, but he refused to stop. When police finally got to the stalled car, they ordered Merzouk to exit it. According to Prache, an officer shot the adolescent as the vehicle tried to flee the scene.