The French president has decided to delay his state visit to Germany as French authorities struggle to deal with the backlash of popular protests that have taken the country by storm.
French President Emmanuel Macron informed authorities in Berlin that he will delay his visit to Germany as Paris struggles to deal with ongoing protests that erupted 4 days ago after police officers murdered 17-year-old Nahel M. on Tuesday.
The German presidency said that Macron called German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and “informed him of the situation in his country” as he asked for the visit scheduled for Sunday to be postponed.
French authorities arrested 1,311 protestors in the period ranging from Friday night to Saturday morning, marking the highest number of arrests since Nahel was murdered in cold blood in Nanterre, Paris.
Violent protests led to the ransacking of shops, and town halls were attacked all over France, as the government fails to suppress popular anger in the country as the 45,000 law enforcement officers and armored vehicles deployed by the French Minister of Interior failed to deal with the uprising.
Observers say that the events have uncovered severe racial tensions in France as protestors accuse authorities of targeting minorities.
Macron’s inability to meet his diplomatic commitments comes after he was pushed to reschedule King Charles’s visit to France after protests erupted over Macron’s pensions reforms which sparked a series of mass protests against his government.
On Thursday, Macron called for an early morning crisis meeting of his ministers and urged calm. He branded the overnight clashes “unjustifiable” and told the meeting the “last few hours have been marked by scenes of violence against police stations, but also schools and town halls… against institutions and the Republic.”
Simultaneously, Macron’s statement sparked a backlash from police unions and right-wing lawmakers.
Describing Macron’s remarks as “irresponsible,” Marine Le Pen, the leader of the National Rally said, “Is the act inexcusable? Is it inexplicable? It’s up to the courts to answer… the president is prepared to forget constitutional principles in an attempt to put out a potential fire.”
One of the primary police unions, Alliance, released a statement in response to Macron’s, in which they said, “It is inconceivable that the president of the republic, like certain politicians, artists, and others, should flout the separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary by condemning our colleagues before the judiciary has even given its verdict.”
French authorities now have to juggle between the continued violent protests and provoked right-wingers who have been seen clashing with protestors as police officers fail to contain the outrage.