The violent protests engulfing France have been met with a critical response after President Emmanuel Macron spent Thursday night at an Elton John concert.
The President was criticized by opposition minister Thierry Mariani of the National Rally Party for attending the concert while “France was on fire.” According to Fox News, Mariani quoted the book of Ecclesiastes from the Old Testament, “Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child.”
Video of Macron dancing to “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting” at the concert was widely shared on social media. Elton John’s husband, David Furnish, posted a picture of the event, but the post was quickly hit with angry comments from people accusing Macron of being “totally irresponsible” and “below everything.” A third commenter even accused him of enjoying Elton John’s show “at the same time a child was killed by police under his government.”
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
The protests began after a police officer shot and killed Nahel M., a teenager, on Tuesday. According to NDTV, Nahel M. was being pulled over for driving in the bus lane during a traffic jam but tried to drive away from the officer after refusing to provide a license. The officer feared the teenager would injure others if he started a car chase, leading him to shoot Nahel M. in the arm and chest.
After Thursday night’s concert, France has been engulfed by protests for five consecutive nights. Hundreds of police officers have been deployed to try and contain the situation, with some protesters even being spotted with belt–fed machine guns.
The rioters have belt-fed weapons. This isn’t Gaza or Libya, it’s France. pic.twitter.com/hZJGTDcss0
— TimOnPoint (@TimOnPoint) July 1, 2023
To show solidarity with the deceased, hundreds of Muslims in France held a procession in his honor. The Associated Press reported that President Macron has canceled his trip to Germany due to the state of the country.
It remains to be seen how Macron will respond to the public’s criticism of attending the Elton John concert. The protests have been numerous and volatile, with Macron now forced to confront a situation that has been brewing for months.