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French press review 23 July 2013

The protests and social unrest in Trappes, the mostly immigrant, working-class suburb of Paris, is still on the front pages of the French newspapers today, including left wing Le Figaro, popular daily Aujourd’hui en France and the daily le Monde.

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The French interior minister, Manuel Valls, visited Trappes yesterday in an attempt to defuse the tension, says Le Figaro, but is faced with strong criticism from the opposition, which accuses the socialist government of being strong with words but unable to take action.

For those who haven’t been following, the round of unrest began Friday when police officers asked a woman wearing a head-to-toe veil to lift the garment and show her face. Authorities say the woman's husband attacked the police officer. Muslim groups say the police were disrespectful. The man was eventually arrested, which sparked protests that degenerated into violence.

France's so-called burqa ban has been the law since 2011, but it's still a sensitive topic, writes Aujourd’hui en France, and although the socialist government is trying to distance itself from its predecessor’s anti-immigrant posture, it largely supports the ban.

But Muslim communities consider the measure a way to stigmatize them, explains today’s edition of Le Monde, with a report from the suburbs in which the daily describes the general atmosphere in this tense neighbourhood.

Another controversy surfaced yesterday and made the headlines of left wing newspaper Libération, after a member of parliament declared that Adolf Hitler had not killed enough Roma people as he was visiting an illegal traveler’s camp.

The comments were made by Gilles Bourdouleix, center-right mayor of the western French town of Cholet, explains the daily, and are part of a series of attacks and hateful hits against the Roman and nomad populations in France.

Forecasting the dismissal of Bourdouleix from his UDI party, the newspaper also takes a look at the Roma genocide which took place under the Third Reich, and during which a quarter of a millions Romans died.

Pope Francis and the World Youth Days make the headlines again today, as Aujourd’hui goes into the details of the annual Catholic Youths festival’s organisation.

The theme of WYD Rio2013 summons young people of Brazil and of the world to take a call to mission and will focus on problems of poverty.

The city of Rio has mobilized hundreds of soldiers and police officers, adds Aujourd’hui en France, to make sure the visit goes smoothly, even as violent anti-government protests continue to erupt a month after Brazil saw mass demonstrations nationwide.

There is, however, one topic that has not received major coverage in today’s French press. Can you guess which one?

The birth of the Prince of Cambridge, third heir to the throne, only appears in large fonts on the front page of Le Figaro, which reads “It’s a boy! The British celebrate the birth of their future King”. Either the other dailies went to print too early to cover yesterday’s late announcement of the birth, or they’ve decided not to give into the baby-frenzy. We’ll just have to wait for tomorrow’s headlines to know.

 

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