French press review 5 May 2018

What will happen at today's protest march by the French hard left and why does it matter? And why has the Swedish Academy decided to postpone the announcement of the 2018 Nobel Literature prize until next year?


Today is going to be an important test for the Paris police.

Just four days after anarchist protesters clashed with police on the fringes of the May Day march by trade unionists, today sees the organisation of a march by members of the hard left and their radical brethern.

The plan is to walk in the spring sunshine from the Paris opera house in the centre of town, to the Bastille. The point is to let President Emmanuel Macron know that he's not liked, admired or accepted by those who live in the trenches of the extreme left.

There will be a greater police presence at today's march. But no one has any idea what any potential rioters might be planning. Unlike the lead-up to May Day, when social media were abuzz with calls to violent action, the police say the networks have been surprisingly quiet since. That could, of course, turn out to be part of a bigger surprise.

Who profits from radical protest?

Le Monde's top story looks at the political impact of radical protestors.

The government has had a go at Jean-Luc Mélenchon of the hard-left France Unbowed party, accusing him of encouraging street violence.

The prime minister is angry at all mainstream political figures whom he accuses of calling for, even provoking, agitation.

Macron has criticised those "arsonists" who, he says, accept democracy only when they win.

Le Monde says more than half of those who took part in the Paris May Day protest earlier this week have distanced themselves from the traditional trade union demonstration, describing it as "sad" and "lacking in imagination".

Mélenchon accused of political profiteering

Le Figaro has a different take on the political implications of the sudden surge in the visibility of the radical element. The right-wing daily says hard-left leader Mélenchon is playing a crafty game, quiet on the violence but ready to draw on the anger and energy if it looks like the partisans of rage and chaos might actually succeed.

In fairness to Mélenchon, he has denounced violence saying that society is responsible for the anger but that only mass action by the working class can defeat it, not more anger.

If things go wrong today, warns Le Figaro, it will cast a cloud over preparations for another demonstration planned for later this month, with the political opposition of the left and the trade unions planning to unite in a popular "tidal wave" for "equality, social justice and sharing".

2018 Nobel Literature Prize put on hold

If you were hoping to win the Nobel Literature Prize this year, you'll have to wait another 12 months to find out.

Yesterday morning the Swedish Academy announced that the 2018 winner will be named next year, at the same time as the 2019 laureat.

Officially, the postponement is due to "a crisis of confidence" and an insufficient number of members. A flood of recent resignations has left bums on just just 10 of the 18 academy seats.

More spectacularly, the august organisation is up to its hind legs in a combined sexual-financial scandal. The husband of one member is accused of rape and harassment by 18 women. The suspicion is that the academy might have turned a blind eye to that activity. Worse, they seem to have gone on paying important subsidies to the alleged perpetrator.

Now they're trying to recruit new members in the hope that they can get the show back on the road by next year.

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning