France's Ukrainian community fear 'another Chechnya' in their homeland


For the Ukrainian community in France the news of Russia's invasion of their country sparked fears for families back home and concern over the spectre of a European war, while also prompting a desire to show solidarity. Four young Ukrainian and Russian woman from Toulouse, a city in south-west France which is twinned with Kyiv, told Mediapart of their reaction to the dramatic and tragic events of Thursday February 24th. Emmanuel Riondé reports.

The fear and rising anger of French job centre staff after colleague was shot dead

France — Report

On Thursday January 28th a supervisor at a Pôle Emploi employment centre in south-east France was shot dead, sending a shock wave of alarm through all branches of the government agency. Staff had already seen growing violence and tension in their branches from disgruntled job seekers, a discontent that has been further fuelled by the Covid-19 crisis and its impact on the economy. As Cécile Hautefeuille found out, fear among job centre staff is now rapidly turning to anger.

Soaring virus infection puts more French cities on alert

France — Link

Montpellier and Toulouse have joined Paris and Marseille and four other cities in the maximum alert status to fight back the coronavirus.

Toulouse becomes first French city to mandate masks outdoors

France — Link

Toulouse officials said masks would be compulsory outdoors starting this  Friday, from 7am to 3am the next day, for all people age 12 and over.

Tackling social tensions in Toulouse as virus lockdown takes its toll on deprived areas

France — Report

In common with other parts of the country, the potentially volatile La Reynerie district of the south-west city of Toulouse has seen flare-ups of violence since the start of the coronavirus lockdown in France on March 17th. On the ground, a combination of collectives, residents and associations have been trying to foster a sense of solidarity and set up support networks without waiting for a response from the city authorities who are only belatedly now trying to introduce measures to reduce local tensions. Emmanuel Riondé reports from Toulouse.

French lockdown: man completes marathon run on his balcony

France — Link

Confined to his apartment by the lockdown measures to contain the Covid-19 virus epidemic, Elisha Nochomovitz completed the distance of a marathon by running backwards and forwards about 6,000 times on his seven-metre-long balcony in Toulouse, southern France, over a period of six hours and 48 minutes.

Hostage-taking in SW France ends in arrest without bloodshed

France — Link

A teenager armed with a gun who took several women hostage in a tobaconnist's store in his home town of Blagnac, near Toulouse in south-west France on Tuesday, in an attack for which the motive remains unclear, gave himself up to police close to midnight after earlier releasing his captives.

'Gunman' takes several hostage in shop in Blagnac in S-W France

France — Link

Six hostages are being held by a gunman in a tobacconist's store in Blagnac, close to Toulouse in south-west France, local media report, and has threatened to kill one of his captives while demanding to negotiate unknown terms with police.

French police investigate apparent rape published on social media

France — Link

Police in France have opened an investigation after video images were published on Snapchat and Twitter apparently showing a young woman being raped near a nightclub in the south-west city of Toulouse, and which were blocked after the authorities were alerted by users of the social media.

When France's laws on secularism don't apply to all


The French constitution sets out that "France is an indivisible, secular, democratic and social Republic”, and the country’s strict laws upholding the secular nature of the state and its institutions, including a ban on the wearing of religious dress and symbols in state educational establishments or by public employees, have been at the centre of tensions with members of the Muslim community. But a recent incident involving members of the council of the south-west city of Toulouse demonstrate that for some politicians, the rules of secularity are bendable according to one’s religion. Emmanuel Riondé reports from Toulouse.  

France's plans to deal with Islamic State's 'child assassins'

France — Investigation

A jihadist from Toulouse in south-west France who fought in Syria has claimed that Islamic State has been planning attacks to be carried out by children in Europe. Though only one suspicious case has been found among the 70 or so minors who have returned to France from the Syria and Iraq battle zones so far, the French authorities are taking the threat seriously. According to Mediapart's information, children aged as young as 13 could be placed in custody when they arrive in France from that region. Matthieu Suc reports.

Town v country: rural French schools feel sacrificed in favour of urban areas

France — Analysis

The education authorities have just made their annual announcement about which primary school classes are being closed and which are being opened in the next academic year. Teaching unions and elected representatives in rural areas fear village schools are getting fewer teaching posts so that the government can implement its flagship policy of halving class sizes in education priority zones - which are overwhelmingly in deprived urban areas. Education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer rejects the claims. Mediapart's education correspondent Faïza Zerouala reports.

How Paris trial shone light on violent, hate-filled world of Merah family

France — Analysis

On Thursday November 2nd, 2017, Abdelkader 'Kader' Merah was cleared of being an accomplice to his brother Mohamed's 2012 murder of three soldiers and four Jewish civilians, including three children, in south-west France, but found guilty of being part of a terrorist conspiracy. Mediapart examines what the trial in Paris revealed about the family from which both men came. As Matthieu Suc reports, it was a family characterised by casual, routine violence and hatred, against a backdrop of anti-Semitism and radical Islam.

Judgement day for brother of French Jewish school shooter

France — Link

Court to rule whether whether older brother of jihadist who shot dead seven people, including three children, in 2012 was complicit in killings.

French prosecutor to decide whether parents can name son 'Jihad'

France — Link

The French public prosecutor's office in the southern city of Toulouseis to decide on whether the parents of a baby boy are legally entitled to name him Jihad, a phonetic spelling from the Arabic meaning "struggle" and which has become a common term adopted by Islamic fundamentalists engaged in terrorist attacks, which have claimed more than 230 lives in France over the past two years.