‘No to France’: anti-France demonstrators in the Chadian capital N’Djamena, May 14th 2022. © AFP
Anti-French sentiment is gaining ground across a number of West African countries, where the presence of the former colonial power, engaged in fighting armed jihadist insurgents across the Sahel, is challenged by growing Russian influence and popular anger against its history of support for strongman regimes. Protests against France’s military presence in the region have now spilled over into Chad, France’s key African ally, governed by a junta, where last month French nationals were targeted in the capital N’Djamena and petrol stations belonging to oil giant Total were ransacked. Rémi Carayol reports.
An undated French army photo of what it says are Russian mercenaries in northern Mali. © © Photo Armée française via AP / Sipa
Mercenaries from the Wagner Group, a Russian private paramilitary organisation with close ties to the Kremlin, have been linked to summary executions, forced disappearances and arbitrary arrests in Mali, where they are officially presented as “instructors” for the West African country’s army in its war against jihadist insurgents. While the Malian authorities deny that their Russian allies take part in direct combat, numerous eyewitness accounts tell a very different story. Paul Lorgerie reports from Mali.
In the streets of Paris. © Rachida El Azzouzi / Mediapart
For more than 30 years an obsession with the wearing of the headscarf has dominated public debate in France, and this presidential campaign has been no exception. The far-right candidate Marine Le Pen has even suggested she might ban its wearing in public places if she is elected head of state this Sunday, April 24th. Here Mediapart speaks to French Muslim women at the centre of this incessant and damaging debate, to hear their point of view. Rachida El Azzouzi and Faïza Zerouala report.
Malian troops on patrol in the centre of the West African country, February 2020. © Photo Michele Cattani / AFP
A Malian army unit accompanied by foreign mercenaries, who from witness accounts appear to be members of Russia's paramilitary Wagner Group, last week carried out summary executions of hundreds of people in the town of Moura, in the centre of Mali, in an operation officially described as a crackdown on jihadist insurgents, according to a report by NGO Human Rights Watch. Mediapart’s West Africa correspondent Rémi Carayol has spoken to survivors of the massacre and with various sources including local rights activists, who say the dead, variously estimated to number between 300 and 600, were mostly non-jihadist civilians.
Melinda in a garden near the northern French town of Hirson. © Illustration Sébastien Calvet pour Mediapart
For three generations Melinda and Dylan's family from northern France has voted steadfastly for the far-right Le Pen family at elections; first Jean-Marie Le Pen, who founded the Front National, and more recently his daughter Marine Le Pen who is president of its successor party Rassemblement National. However, the decision on who to vote for has now been thrown into question by the presence of another far-right candidate in April's French presidential election, the polemicist Éric Zemmour. The dilemma, one faced by many voters across the country, threatens to divide the family. Lucie Delaporte reports.
Last weekend marked the 60th anniversary of the Évian Accords which brought an end to the bloody Algerian War and paved the way for that country's independence from France. But for many ordinary Algerians their memory of that period is still dominated by the violence perpetrated at the time by the armed French group that was virulently opposed to granting Algeria's independence, the Organisation Armée Secrète or OAS. Nejma Brahim visited Oran on the north-west coast of Algeria where an OAS car bomb killed scores of people on February 28th 1962.
A monitoring room in the Hospices civils de Lyon paediatric A&E service. © CCC
The medical profession has been on a steep learning curve about the consequences, notably long-term, of infection by the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the Covid-19 disease it causes. But mystery remains over many aspects of the virus, and in particular about its effects, and true infection rates, among the very young. Caroline Coq-Chodorge reports from the south-east French city of Lyon, where paediatricians with the country’s second-largest teaching hospital group recount their findings.
In Herat, north-west Afghanistan, several refugees were injured as they implored the Taliban for humanitarian aid.. © Rachida El Azzouzi/Mediapart
It is estimated that around half the population of Afghanistan is facing famine this winter as the humanitarian crisis in the country, described by the UN as one of the worst worldwide, continues to develop following the return to power of the Taliban and subsequent international sanctions. Rachida El Azzouzi and Mortaza Behboudi report from the north-west city of Herat, where some families have sold daughters to buy food. There, they witnessed, and filmed, a stampede by desperate refugees, mostly mothers seeking vital aid kits from the overwhelmed Taliban.
One association in south-east France offers equine therapy to women victims of violence. © DR / Femmes répit
According to a 2021 report by French senators, half of all murders of women in France are committed in rural regions, where just one third of the country’s female population reside. The plight of women victims of domestic violence is particularly acute in rural areas where isolation, local taboos and the relative scarcity of public services combine to aggravate their distress. Élodie Potente reports from the Drôme, a rural south-east département (county), where local associations and volunteers provide help for victims amid the absence of adequate state support.
A sticker on a lamppost saying no to the Covid-19 vaccine, at Montreuil in the Paris suburbs. © NB.
Less than a week ago President Emmanuel Macron caused controversy when he said he wanted to “piss off” the unvaccinated in France, whom he described as “irresponsible” and “no longer citizens” in his eyes. As Mediapart has found out, these comments shocked people who have not – yet – made the decision to get vaccinated against Covid. Divided between those who have doubts about the vaccine, others who are afraid, or some who simply feel that it is their duty to defend public liberties, the unvaccinated say they feel misunderstood and are unhappy about being stigmatised. Nejma Brahim reports.