French press review 28 December 2015

All of today's French newspapers have the rising tensions on the island of Corsica on their front pages. Xenophobia is one of the key words this morning.


Le Monde says 300 people gathered yesterday near the district where violence broke out last Thursday and Friday. It explains that, after four days of tension, two inquiries have been launched, one into Thursday's attack on firefighters and the other on the desecration of a Muslim prayer hall. 

Left-leaning Libération has a smaller headline saying “there only needed to be a spark” in Corsica for the violence to mount and escalate. It says that what is happening on the Mediterranean island since last Thursday is the result of mounting Islamophobia

“Arabs out!” or “This is OUR home!” are the slogans that have been heard since the violence started. 

The term Islamophobia features in Catholic newspaper La Croix, as well. The paper says that many messages of hostility towards the Muslim community have been written online. 

But La Croix also reminds us of several incidents that occurred this past year in Corsica, for example, when pigs' heads were hung on the door of a Muslim prayer hall after the Charlie Hebdo attacks last January. 

The paper's editorial says that the violence that took place on Christmas Day are terrible and that the local authorities have some responsibility in letting this situation evolve.

However, both Communist paper L’Humanité and right-wing Le Figaro use the term xenophobia rather than Islamophobia. L’Humanité carries the headline “Xenophobic hatred disfigures the Isle of Beauty” (the Isle of Beauty being Corsica's nickname) and explains that public gatherings have been forbidden until 4 January in the affected area. 

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Le Figaro says that Corsica is torn apart by “urban violence” and xenophobia but also says that tensions in districts with high immigration have been escalating for a while now. 

The situation has become more and more worrying, it says, because of radicalisation and the fact that the authorities seem unable to get the situation under control. 

The paper carries several articles on the subject, ranging from reports of what Corsicans think to words of peace from the Muslim community and finally analysis of the mounting violence.

Some newspapers have other lead stories, though.

Libération has a special in-depth article on how communities are encouraging green consumerism. Through several examples, such as no-waste restaurants or money-free shops, it puts forward new concepts based on solidarity, saying these solutions are emerging as a response to the economic crisis and an over-consuming society. 

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Le Figaro gives the latest revelations regarding the 13 November Paris attacks. Suicide bombers tried as hard as they could to get into the Stade de France and that at least 400 rounds were shot in less than 20 minutes at cafés in the centre of Paris. 

The investigation has also revealed that the killers not only targeted the rock band playing that night at the Bataclan music venue but also used people as "human shields", putting them in front of doors and windows to protect themselves.

L'Humanité's main story is about how homosexuals in Tunisia are "holding their heads high" and that, despite repression, LGBT activists and feminists are showing a united front.

In its online edition Le Monde's headline reports Prime Minister Manuel Valls asking whether the left is getting lost and confused after the whole debate on stripping dual nationals of their French nationality if they are linked to terrorism.

Most politicians - both from the right and the left - were surprised the government was going ahead with the proposal and planning to write it into the constitution. 

But Valls says that left-wingers who don’t get on board with the amendment are “going astray" because they forgotten that the state - the country even - is at war. 

The proposal's opponents claim that not only is it going too far but it is most likely not going to change anything.   “As if the terrorists care" about being stripped of French nationality, Martine Aubry, the Socialist mayor of northern city of Lille, has commented.

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