In wake of uprisings against racism: French authorities escalate repression

People protest the police murder of Nahel Merzouk in the Place de la Concorde in Paris, June 30.

On June 27, French police executed a French-Algerian teenager named Nahel Merzouk in the Parisian suburb of Nanterre. Two Paris motorcycle cops fired multiple rounds at close range into the driver’s side seat of the car that Merzouk was driving.

Initially, the Nanterre prosecutor’s office insisted that the police fired into Merzouk’s vehicle because it was accelerating toward them. To ensure their safety, the two officers opened fire. 

Unsurprisingly, the prosecutor’s account was a lie. This is what capitalist police do. They murder, lie, and steal.

A few days after Merzouk’s execution, a video was released publicly that clearly shows that the vehicle was not accelerating toward the officers. They were not in imminent danger. Both officers were standing parallel to the driver’s window when they fired multiple rounds into him. 

The 17-year-old pizza delivery driver was dead an hour later. 

In the wake of the murder and police lies, protests and rebellions cropped up throughout Paris and the surrounding suburbs and spread across France. Cars and businesses burned. People fought back against the stormtroopers sent in to repress the protests. 

Western media coverage expressed sympathy for the Parisian immigrant community but ultimately condemned the uprising as the act of provocateurs instead of an expression of genuine rage against racism. 

For decades, Black and Arab communities in France have been treated as second-class citizens. Due to discrimination and over-policing, the predominantly North African and Arab immigrants of Paris face cycles of racism, poverty, and crime similar to those experienced by Black and Brown communities in the United States. 

This is far from the first oppressed youth that French police have murdered. Parisian cops have a long history of inflicting terror and brutality against immigrant communities. As long as this racist terror continues, so will the rebellions against them. 

Corporate media continue to insist that these racist police murders and the corresponding rebellions are isolated events or aberrations. We know otherwise. 

We know that these protests are born from decades of murders, socioeconomic discrimination, and exploitation at the hands of French capitalists and their racist stormtroopers. This is how the capitalists maintain order – through brutally repressing the most oppressed sections of the working class. 

In support of that goal, President Emmanuel Macron and the French police have attempted to ban anti-police protests, claiming safety concerns. The escalation of state repression is ironic coming from a government that constantly accuses Russia and other countries of free speech violations. 

U.S. and European police are real anti-free-speech institutions. The people of France, particularly those in immigrant, Black, and Brown communities, must be supported in their struggle against racism and brutal police repression. 

Down with racism! Down with Macron! Black Lives Matter!

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