Reports

  • Afraid, the young people of Paris refuse to bow to terror

    Les étudiants de la Sorbonne (Paris-V) observent une minute de silence, le lundi 16 novembre. © Reuters Les étudiants de la Sorbonne (Paris-V) observent une minute de silence, le lundi 16 novembre. © Reuters

    The shootings and bombings in Paris on the evening of Friday November 13th targeted people – mainly young people – who had simply gone out to enjoy themselves. Two days after the killings Mediapart talked to pupils and students from the Paris region as they went back to school or university. Many spoke of their fear of being “in the wrong place at the wrong time” and are still struggling to make sense of the carnage. But they insist they are determined to carry on living their lives to the full. Mathilde Goanec, Dan Israel, Amélie Poinssot and Ellen Salvi report.

  • Paris terror attacks: death toll rises to 129, IS claims responsibility, arrests in Belgium

     © Reuters © Reuters

    At least 129 people died in the series of terrorist attacks in and around Paris on Friday evening, for which a statement purportedly from the Islamic State group has claimed responsibility. Late on Saturday the Paris public prosecutor said 352 people were known to have been wounded, of whom 99 were in a serious condition. He added that police believe the terrorists were divided into three teams. Three men were arrested Saturday in Belgium in connection with the attacks. President François Hollande has ordered three days of national mourning. Mediapart reports on the precise chronology of the Friday attacks and the latest information to emerge on Saturday.

  • What Calais residents really think about the migrant crisis

    By Haydée Sabéran
    Une boutique dans la « New Jungle », le 16 octobre 2015 © Philippe Wojazer / Reuters Une boutique dans la « New Jungle », le 16 octobre 2015 © Philippe Wojazer / Reuters

    In just a year the number of migrants living in the so-called 'New Jungle' camp at Calais in north-east France waiting to get to the UK has doubled to around 6,000. The migrant question has now become a key issue in December's regional elections, with the head of the far-right Front National, Marine Le Pen, standing for the region that includes Calais. But what do the town's residents think about the migrants and their plight? As Haydée Sabéran found out, it is a complex picture.

  • Defining the troubled notion of secularism in France

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    Jean-Louis Bianco is head of France’s Secularism Monitoring Centre, a public body that advises public institutions, local authorities and the private sector, among others, on the country’s laws on secularity and their application. Amid an increasingly tense political debate over multiculturalism in France, the legislation has rarely been so fiercely championed - but also brought into question. To address the misunderstandings by both camps, Bianco travels France each week to discuss the principle and the detail of the law with various sections of the population. Mathieu Magnaudeix followed him on one such trip to a small town in north-east France.

  • France's 'alternative' farmers point to a new rural model

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    Pierre-Yves Floch, dans sa porcherie bio © JS Pierre-Yves Floch, dans sa porcherie bio © JS

    French farmers last week blocked Paris with more than 1,500 tractors in the latest of a series of protests at the dire financial difficulties many now find themselves in, which they blame on ever-lower prices paid for their produce, taxes and social charges, and industry standards that are strangling them in red tape. But a growing number of smallholdings in France are successfully bucking the trend, proving that there is an economically viable alternative to the failed model of conventional farming and mass production sold on the cheap - in the form of quality produce sold directly to local outlets. Julien Sartre reports from Brittany.

  • The migrant crisis in Ventimiglia, the 'new Calais' on the French-Italian border

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    French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve and his British counterpart Theresa May met in Calais on Thursday to announce new joint security measures to prevent thousands of migrants in the Channel port from reaching England. While the desperate situation in Calais has become the focus of headlines, the similar, less-reported plight of growing numbers of migrants blocked at France’s south-eastern border with Italy now threatens to erupt into a major crisis. Louise Fessard reports from the Italian border town of Ventimiglia.

  • Chinese prostitutes denounce Paris police 'intimidation' and 'humiliation'

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    Paris police in May began a heavy-handed crackdown on the growing numbers of Chinese prostitutes working the streets of Belleville, a multi-ethnic, working-class neighbourhood in the north of the capital. The local authorities say the operation was to prevent Belleville from becoming the city’s centre of “open air prostitution”, but the sex workers complain of violent and humiliating behaviour by police officers that has left them exposed to greater dangers. Julien Sartre reports.

  • The lonely plight of Syrian migrants in Paris

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    As the bloody civil war in their country continues, families fleeing Syria have set up a makeshift camp at Saint-Ouen in the north of Paris. Many of them feel trapped, unsure how to complete their arduous journey towards a safe haven, uncertain about whether to claim asylum in France or move on to another European country. The authorities, meanwhile, do the bare minimum to help this small group of Syrians, apparently hoping that they will simply move on elsewhere. Mediapart's Carine Fouteau went to meet the inhabitants of this mini-camp who are living next to the French capital's main ring road.

  • French Socialist Party congress: PM Valls keeps re-election roadmap a 'mystery'

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    Manuel Valls au congrès du PS samedi 6 juin © Reuters Manuel Valls au congrès du PS samedi 6 juin © Reuters

    The ruling French Socialist Party held its national congress this weekend, called to define the party’s broad policy lines and to designate its leadership structures at local and national level. The three-day event, which ended on Sunday evening, also marks the third anniversary of François Hollande’s presidency. Against a backdrop of record and increasing unemployment, the party desperately needs new impetus as it faces an uphill struggle over the next two years to win back its disaffected electorate in presidential and parliamentary elections due in 2017. But while Prime Minister Manuel Valls was given a warm public display of support by party members, he offered no clear programme for the remainder of his government’s time in office during a skilfully crafted speech aimed at appeasing party divisions. Lénaïg Bredoux reports from the congress in the west-central town of Poitiers.

  • US flight catering staff turn up heat on Air France over working conditions

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    Morena Henriquez packs airline meals for more than 10 hours a day in a refrigerated area. Chef Rafael León has to provide his own knives and sometimes squats on the floor to prepare the in-flight meals because he has no work surface. Both earn minimal wages. These are not workers in a developing country but staff at a Los Angeles-based associate of airline giant Air France-KLM. They flew to Paris recently to confront the airline's shareholders over their miserable working conditions. And now its management has finally agreed to intervene on their behalf with its American partner. Dan Israel reports on the fight against working conditions that one French trade union official has described as “modern-day slavery”.