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June 30, 2023

Lydia Baccino, Gabriel Helupka, Dan Flanagan, Megan Khalife

Cameron Munoz, Senior Editor

Map of France[1]

Event: On Friday, President Emmanuel Macron deployed additional security forces to contain nationwide protests following a police officer’s killing of a teenager. Police officers stopped Nahel M, of Algerian descent, on traffic rules and drew their weapons at him to prevent him from fleeing the scene. The decision to fire the weapon came after the driver decided to pull away. Police officers involved initially reported that they shot Nahel in self-defense as he was driving the car toward them, which was quickly refuted through videos posted on social media. This latest incident comes after repeated complaints of police violence and systemic racism inside law enforcement. In a third night of violence, first responders stated that they were struggling to contain fires, as protestors torched cars, schools, police stations, and other public buildings. These violent clashes began in Nanterre and spread to Parisian suburbs but are now occurring in multiple cities, from Toulouse in the South and Lille in the North. Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin stated that more than 200 officers were injured since the beginning of the unrest, with approximately 6,000 fires started and 500 buildings damaged.[2]

Significance: The resulting widespread protests very likely revived long-standing grievances linked to police violence and systemic racism in France, almost certainly exacerbating civil unrest and highlighting underlying social issues in France. Rioting will likely persist into early next week as roadblocks and curfews are likely. These de-escalation efforts will likely create transportation disruptions such as shutting down public transit or limiting it due to risks of violence. Delays will almost certainly impact commuters and operations, very likely threatening business continuity. The scale of destruction likely suggests a disorganized and indiscriminate targeting of public and private property, very likely indicative of the median protestor age. The protestors’ predominantly young demographic very likely reflects the frustration and dissatisfaction regarding government institutions like law enforcement, likely resulting from a perceived divide between them and the ruling administration. The increased presence of youth political activism likely demonstrates growing motivation to advocate for social change and reforms, very likely pushing the French government to consider their demands. There is a roughly even chance the French government will introduce policy or legislative reform for accountability on police violence, likely attempting to quell violence and appease the UN. Instead, the Macron administration will likely prioritize de-escalation efforts to reduce tensions and is unlikely to announce a state of emergency, very likely drawing further criticism from far-right parties. Far-right leaders like Marine Le Pen will likely denounce the lack of an emergency declaration and call for more offensive action to disrupt riots. Right-wing politicians will also likely use this to gather more supporters against the current administration’s lax immigration and crime policies. Islamist and jihadist groups will likely praise the ongoing riots online, likely encouraging members to exploit the chaos to carry out attacks or disruptive activities in France. They will likely inspire members in neighboring countries to do the same, likely attempting to garner media attention. French law enforcement will likely deploy undercover police personnel into riots, likely raising the risk of their discovery and attacks on law enforcement. Regional French governments experiencing significant riots will likely consider banning the sale and distribution of flammable liquids and petrol to mitigate the strain on fire departments and property damage. Disinformation on social media will very likely circulate, likely in an attempt to incite further chaos and undermine government efforts to contain the protests.


  • The Counterterrorism Group (CTG) recommends French law enforcement take steps to reduce the targeting of minority groups.

  • CTG recommends French law enforcement introduce measures of de-escalation when confronting potential suspects. CTG also recommends both law enforcement and citizens engage in cordial and cooperative interactions to avoid escalation.

  • CTG recommends travelers avoid areas with high concentrations of protests including Paris and Marseille. CTG also recommends travelers avoid areas where heightened security personnel deployments are present.

  • CTG recommends citizens refrain from participating in violent and destructive behaviors and instead resort to peaceful means of protests. CTG recommends citizens listen to the instructions of local authorities to ensure safe practices.

  • CTG recommends parents discuss the situation with their children and ensure they provide them with a safe environment where they can voice their thoughts and concerns. They should also ensure that they stay at home in regions where protesters are active.

  • CTG recommends French law enforcement maintain awareness in the event of anti-government or terror organizations using the protests as an infiltration tactic to mount attacks.

  • CTG recommends social media users are vigilant of posts surrounding the event spreading false or misleading information. CTG also recommends avoiding disinformation by fact-checking videos or images of the riots on social media before sharing them.

  • If there is any additional and or critical information, please contact us at The Counterterrorism Group (CTG) by Telephone at 202-643-2848 or email


[1]France location map-Departements 1997-2014” by Eric Gaba licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

[2] Paris shooting: Where are the riots in France and why are they happening?, The Independent, June 2023,

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