Mother jailed as mayor seeks to clear beggars off Nice's streets

By

A pregnant young Roma mother has been jailed for a year in Nice after being convicted of mistreating her children on the Mediterranean city's streets. Human rights and Roma groups see a worrying link between the woman's arrest and conviction and a campaign by the right-wing mayor Christian Estrosi to clean up the city's streets for the tourist season, and claim the authorities have sought to make an example of her. Louise Fessard reports.

Graphic novel tells grim story of French colonial massacre

By
 © Les Arènes © Les Arènes

In their graphic novel 'Morts par la France' ('Killed by France'), the journalist-artist duo of Pat Perna and Nicolas Oter trace the footsteps of historian Armelle Mabon who has shed crucial new light on what is known as the massacre of Thiaroye. This took place on December 1st, 1944, when African troops who had fought for the Allies and been imprisoned by the Germans were gunned down by the French Army near Dakar in Senegal. For many years the French authorities concealed the full scale and horror of the massacre. Rachida El Azzouzi reports.

Proof of Macron chief of staff's lie over family links to shipping firm

By and
Chief of staff Alexis Kohler and PM Edouard Philippe, both members of the Le Havre Supervisory Board from 2010 to 2012. © LCI Chief of staff Alexis Kohler and PM Edouard Philippe, both members of the Le Havre Supervisory Board from 2010 to 2012. © LCI

Contrary to what he has stated, President Emmanuel Macron's chief of staff Alexis Kohler has not always revealed his family links to the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), and in his duties as a senior public servant has not always stood aside from issues involving the giant Italian-Swiss shipping firm. Official documents from the major French port of Le Havre, seen by Mediapart, show that Kohler took part in discussions and votes concerning the company while he sat on the port's Supervisory Board as a civil servant from 2010 to 2012. Laurent Mauduit and Martine Orange investigate.

'A man of power like the others': what voters think of Macron after Benalla affair

By
Opinion was divided on the lakeside beach at Sillé-le-Guillaume in central west France. © Justine Brabant Opinion was divided on the lakeside beach at Sillé-le-Guillaume in central west France. © Justine Brabant

In an attempt to play down the Benalla affair, the minister for equality Marlène Schiappa claimed that the issue did not interest “the people”. To test this assertion Mediapart went to  her political stronghold, the central western city of Le Mans, visiting both its plusher districts where Emmanuel Macron picked up 35% of the first-round vote last year, and more working class areas. As Justine Brabant found, while the affair involving the president's bodyguard dressing in police insignia and beating up protestors has not shaken people's convictions, many profess to be weary of politics – both that of the old world and Macron's “new world”.

Battle over McDonald's 'union stronghold' in Marseille

By
 © Reuters/Regis Duvignau © Reuters/Regis Duvignau

A McDonald's restaurant in the north of Marseille faces closure in the coming days as it gets sold to a mysterious new owner. The current owners of the franchise say the fast-food restaurant is closing simply because it has made heavy losses in recent years. But unions and staff insist the sale is simply a ruse to get rid of an outlet whose employees have successfully led many forms of industrial action in recent years, both locally and nationally. As Dan Israel reports, the 70 staff have now made an official complaint of attempted fraud on the part of the franchise owners.

Why the buck stops with Macron over Benalla scandal

By
Alexandre Benalla and President Emmanuel Macron. © Reuters Alexandre Benalla and President Emmanuel Macron. © Reuters

Without Emmanuel Macron there would have been no Alexandre Benalla at the Élysée; for the man who dressed with police insignia and assaulted demonstrators owes everything to the president. But, equally, there would be no Benalla scandal without the support given by the president of the Republic to his trusted aide. Mediapart publishing editor Edwy Plenel says that it is this protection, even lying, that makes this scandal an affair of state.

New video shows Macron aide and associate illegally 'policing' May Day crowds

By
Alexandre Benalla (circled, with white hood) and Vincent Crase (circled right) during the arrest of a man in the Jardin des plantes on May 1st. Alexandre Benalla (circled, with white hood) and Vincent Crase (circled right) during the arrest of a man in the Jardin des plantes on May 1st.

French President Emmanuel Macron’s security aide Alexandre Benalla, together with an employee of Macron’s ruling LREM party, Vincent Crase, were involved on May 1st in other incidents before they assaulted a man among May Day crowds at a square in the Latin Quarter of Paris. In a new video obtained by Mediapart, the two men, officially present alongside police as civilian “observers” of crowd-control operations that day, can be seen heavy-handedly joining in the arrest of a man at a public park. The new evidence of their violent and illegal behaviour that day further deepens the scandal of a suspected cover-up of their actions by the presidential office and senior police hierarchy.

How the fall of Gaddafi destabilised Mali

By
Security checks as voters line up in Mali's capital Bamako on Sunday. © Reuters Security checks as voters line up in Mali's capital Bamako on Sunday. © Reuters

The first round of presidential elections was held last Sunday in Mali, the former French colony in West Africa which has become a key centre of the battle, led by France, against jihadist groups operating in the Sahel. Outgoing president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, 73, hoping for re-election, is roundly attacked by his rivals for having failed to bring security to the country, despite France’s military intervention against jihadists in 2013 and the continued presence of thousands of UN peacekeepers. In this analysis of the enduring instability in Mali, Rémi Carayol details how it was fuelled by the toppling of the Gaddafi regime in Libya.

Macron aide scandal: illegally copied CCTV footage given to Élysée ended up on Twitter

Alexandre Benalla (foreground) during the May Day marches in Paris on May 1st. © DR Alexandre Benalla (foreground) during the May Day marches in Paris on May 1st. © DR

The unfolding scandal prompted by videos of the vicious assault of a man during May Day disturbances by President Emmanuel Macron’s private security aide Alexandre Benalla now includes the revelation that confidential police CCTV footage of the events in a Paris square were published on Twitter by supporters of Macron’s party in an attempt to denigrate Benalla’s victim. Screenshots obtained by Mediapart show the images, apparently from a CD copy of the footage given to Benalla by police officers, and which Benalla said he immediately handed to the Élysée Palace, were posted on social media just after Benalla’s thuggish behaviour was revealed by French daily Le Monde – before being removed just hours later.Karl Laske, Pascale Pascariello and Lénaïg Bredoux report.

Benalla scandal lifts lid on shadowy Élysée 'mission leaders'

By
Extract from Alexandre Benalla's empoyment contract with the Elysée Palace (full details in the article). © Document Mediapart Extract from Alexandre Benalla's empoyment contract with the Elysée Palace (full details in the article). © Document Mediapart

The political scandal surrounding Emmanuel Macron’s disgraced personal security advisor Alexandre Benalla is centred less on his thuggish behaviour in beating up May Day demonstrators while illegally wearing police insignia but rather on the secrecy of his role and his relationship with the president who afforded the 26-year-old extraordinary powers. Benalla was engaged as a ‘mission leader’ with the presidency, a vague title afforded to a number of other Élysée Palace staff whose activities are largely unaccountable to the public. Mediapart has obtained the employment contracts of Benalla and five other so-called ‘mission leaders’ at the Élysée which reveal how they are exempt from probity law requirements that apply to official advisors. Mathilde Mathieu reports.     

French minister and police chief point to Élysée over Benalla scandal

By and
French interior minister Gérard Collomb appearing before MPs on Monday. © Reuters French interior minister Gérard Collomb appearing before MPs on Monday. © Reuters

The French parliament commission of inquiry into the scandal sparked by media revelations last week of the vicious assault upon a May Day demonstrator by President Emmanuel Macron’s personal security advisor, Alexandre Benalla, who was illegally allowed to take an active part in policing May 1st crowds dressed with police insignia, began its first hearings on Monday, when it quizzed interior minister Gérard Collomb and Paris police prefect Michel Delpuech. In their testimony, both men clearly placed responsibility for what increasingly appears as a far-reaching cover-up at the door of the presidential office.

The Macron presidency's dark side revealed

By
Emmanuel Macron (left) with his now disgraced security aide, Alexandre Benalla, during election campaigning in May 2017. © Régis Duvignau/Reuters Emmanuel Macron (left) with his now disgraced security aide, Alexandre Benalla, during election campaigning in May 2017. © Régis Duvignau/Reuters

The scandal surrounding French president Emmanuel Macron’s security advisor Alexandre Benalla, who beat up May Day demonstrators while passing himself off as a police officer, evokes a nauseating picture of a parallel police and a private security office within the heart of the French presidential office, writes Mediapart publishing editor Edwy Plenel in this opinion article on the fast-developing crisis engulfing Macron and his government. This privatisation of the president’s security, with the ugly atmosphere of hatchet men with a law to themselves, reveals the dark side of Macron’s monarchic style of leadership.

Macron thug-and-aide scandal deepens with cover-up claims

Alexandre Benalla (centre) and his associate Vincent Crase attack a demonstrator on May 1st in the presence of police. © DR Alexandre Benalla (centre) and his associate Vincent Crase attack a demonstrator on May 1st in the presence of police. © DR

President Emmanuel Macron was this weekend mired the gravest crisis since he came to office little more than a year ago, after further revelations about the events when his personal security advisor physically assaulted May Day demonstrators while dressed as a police officer, and growing evidence that his extraordinary behaviour was covered up by the Élysée Palace and the interior ministry. Both Macron and his interior minister Gérard Collomb were reportedly made aware more than two months ago of the thuggish behaviour of the president’s personal security advisor Alexandre Benalla, who was only finally dismissed from his post on Friday when he was taken into police custody two days after the scandal was first revealed by the media.

Élysée knew Macron aide beat up demonstrators

By
Alexandre Benalla (right) with Emmanuel Macron in May 2017. © Reuters Alexandre Benalla (right) with Emmanuel Macron in May 2017. © Reuters

The French presidency on Thursday was engulfed in a developing scandal after it was revealed that an official advisor on President Emmanuel Macron’s personal security assaulted demonstrators in a Paris square on May 1st, while dressed as a police officer. Video footage clearly shows Alexandre Benalla manhandling a distressed woman before launching a vicious attack on a young man who was left on his knees in agony. It now emerges that the presidency was at the time made aware of the incidents, but Benalla was given only a two-week suspension from his post. Ellen Salvi reports.

The lessons from the past as France celebrates its football champions

By
A man celebrates France's victory in the World Cup on Sunday in the Goutte d'Or neighbourhood of Paris. © Rachida El Azzouzi A man celebrates France's victory in the World Cup on Sunday in the Goutte d'Or neighbourhood of Paris. © Rachida El Azzouzi

After winning the football World Cup tournament in Russia, France’s national football team arrived home on Monday, when rejoicing crowds turned out to applaud them riding a double-decker bus along the Champs-Elysées avenue in central Paris, before a reception at the presidential palace. Since France’s victory over Croatia in the final on Sunday, streets across the country have been swamped in a flag-waving, car-horn blazing party of multi-coloured jubilation. But, warns Mediapart political commentator Hubert Huertas, while this temporary moment of collective joy is one to embrace, it heralds no change for the country’s underlining social, political and economic problems.