The latest from The Daily Telegraph
French election 2017: Marine Le Pen leading the race as polls open
Polls have opened in the first round of France’s most unpredictable and high-stakes presidential election in decades, with far-Right leader Marine Le Pen and the maverick centrist Emmanuel Macron leading the field.
A Le Pen victory could lead to the collapse of the European Union, experts warn, but after the victory of Donald Trump in the US and the Brexit vote in Britain most agree that there is no safe bet in the French race.
Areas of Paris are “no go zones” suburban ghettos inhabited by Muslim thugs who target outsiders with threats of physical harm. These banlieues harbor drug dealers, murders and thieves. They have their own mini government. Gendarmes fear to enter these areas. Roché said nothing had changed since 2005 – “neither the police’s policy, nor the very high level of hostility in the poor suburbs” – and warned that any violence could quickly spread. “It spreads from one poor banlieue to another … The fuel is the anger and hostility towards the police forces.”
French politicians are underestimating the level of anger in the country’s troubled banlieues, which risks sparking an explosion of violence, experts have warned.
The alert comes after another night of violence and arrests in several Paris suburbs. Suspects appeared in court on Tuesday on charges of civil disturbances including torching cars and dustbins and attacks on the emergency services.
The unrest erupted after a 22-year-old man, Théo, was allegedly raped during a violent police arrest.
Academics have accused French politicians of failing to deal with the tinderbox conditions in the banlieues or suburban estates, which they say could spark a national wave of riots in the run-up to the presidential elections in April and May.