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French press review 22 July 2013

Two of France’s main national newspapers - Libération and Le Figaro - headline today with the ongoing social unrest in Trappes, which was sparked by the alleged brutal police arrest of a woman wearing a niqab.


Left-wing Libération, headlines “Heat strike in the suburbs”, a caption which also echoes this weekend’s heat wave in France.

Tensions have been growing for months, explains the daily, and will probably persist in this disadvantaged area with rampant unemployment and discrimination.

Although Trappes isn’t your stereotypical “ghetto” with decrepit public housing complexes, the freshly repainted façades fail to hide the unease and anger of the people living there, said a resident.

According to right-wing Le Figaro, intervention units from the police spent the weekend patrolling the neighbourhood where the riots started on Friday, an area now considered a “highly sensitive urban zone”.

Manuel Valls, French Interior Minister, promised to find solutions to the tensions according to Le Figaro, while members of the opposition question the origin of the riots, and ask if the government should rethink the law on secularism and the burqa, passed under former president Nicolas Sarkozy.

Sharing the headlines with Trappes is Pope Francis who – five months after his appointment – makes his first visit abroad.

Flying back to his native South America, Pope Francis’ visit to Brazil for the World Youth Days in Rio is awaited by nearly two million pilgrims, reports Le Figaro.

The former archbishop of Buenos Aires will celebrate the first WYD of his pontificate, a visit that will bring hope to a continent suffering from social tensions and unease, says La Croix.

According to the Catholic newspaper, Pope Francis will urge young Catholics from across the world to live their faith more openly, be proud of their beliefs and spread the word, a powerful message in a country where Evangelical Churches have become increasingly active in the past years.

Also, in the wake of the social movements and protests in Brazil, the newly elected Pope is expected to make a special message of hope to those who are suffering from the current social and economic situations, says La Croix, adding that important security measures have been taken by the Brazilian authorities to ensure the Pontiff and the pilgrims’ safety.

The daily Aujourd’hui en France must have had a premonition when it came up with today’s headline.

While reports are just coming in that the Duchess of Cambridge is in early stage of labor, the daily’s front page is all about “Royal Mania”, and the ever-so-strong public interest in all things royal.

From Philippe, the newly crowned Belgian King, to the much awaited – and possibly ongoing – birth of another heir to the British crown, Aujourd’hui en France take a look at why Princes and Princesses are still so hype.

And speaking of crowns and Great Britain, Chris Froome was crowned second successive British winner of the Tour de France yesterday, and also won a full front page of the sports daily l’Equipe.

As the 100th edition of the Tour ends, the newspaper gives an overview of this year's race, presenting its winner, as well as a list of all the participants and their individual results in a 10-page long special report. A must have for all you Tour de France fans out there.

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