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What’s Behind the Violent Protests in France?

A surge of violent protests that started in big cities and extended to smaller towns and villages have caught local authorities off surprise in France right now. In the past, unrest was mostly connected to urban regions, particularly poor housing projects. The most recent protests, however, have disrupted this trend, raising concerns about the underlying reasons for and goals of the escalating social unrest.

After Nahel Merzouk was fatally shot by a police officer, the violence that started in the Paris suburbs swiftly spread to other parts of the nation. These protests turned into widespread mayhem due to the quick transmission of information on social media, leading in the destruction of cars, buildings, and the targeting of law enforcement. Smaller communities that had previously escaped the effects of such incidents were suddenly affected by the turmoil, which had previously only affected well-known trouble places.

The bigger French cities have long struggled with socioeconomic inequality and discrimination, which disproportionately impacts immigrant groups and their children who were born in France. A feeling of institutional prejudice has been maintained by the failure to integrate generations of immigrants, fuelling smouldering resentment and hatred. These ingrained grievances can be seen as reflected in the violent protests, which have been used as a means for marginalised people and communities to express their resentment at perceived injustice.

Social media's influence in promoting and spreading the wave of violence across France cannot be understated. Online videos and images were used as catalysts to spur imitation and foster a competitive spirit among participants. Individuals were able to demonstrate their resistance and increase the impact of their actions thanks to this type of "one-upmanship". Due to this, even smaller towns and villages that had previously been protected from such occurrences were now at risk of being infected by the contagious spread of unrest.

The mayors of the impacted towns and villages have noticed a troubling pattern of imitative behaviour among the offenders. People have been inspired to duplicate violent crimes in their own communities as a result of the ease with which violent movies and photos can be found on social media.

Many people use disruptive behaviour as a way to express their unhappiness, draw attention to themselves, and obtain respect in their groups. This violent cycle is fuelled by the need to be noticed and accepted.


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