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Posted by On 7:12 AM

VIDEO: Uproar in France after member of Macron's staff filmed roughing up protester

French prosecutors said Thursday that they had opened a probe into an alleged assault by a senior security officer working for President Emmanuel Macron who was identified in a video hitting a protester.

Alexandre Benalla, who was head of security during Macron's campaign last year and transferred to the presidential staff afterwards, is seen wearing a police helmet and visor during a demonstration on May 1 in the video published by Le Monde newspaper.

The incident can be seen below from around 1 minute 10 seconds.

In the video Benalla can be seen grabbing the protester and dragging him along the ground even though he was already surrounded by five or six riot police officers.

He can also be seen hitting the protester several times on the back of the head amid shouts and screams from other people nearby.

Benalla then walks away when he realises he is being filmed. It is unclear what led the protester to be surrounded by riot police officers.

Le Monde writes: "Alexandre Benalla, a close advisor to the President of the Republic, equipped with a police helmet and visor even though he is not a police officer, attacked a young man who was on the ground during a demonstration in Place de la Contrescarpe

"He obviously acted without knowing he was being filmed on a mobile telephone."

Prosecutors in Paris opened a probe on Thursday into possible charges of violence by a public official, of pretending to be a policeman and the illegal use of police insignia.

Imitating a policeman can lead to a prison term of up to a year and a fine of 15,000 euros.

The images caused uproar among the political class with politi cians from all parties expressing their outrage.

Many wanted to know why the member of Macron's staff was allowed to manhandle protesters and why the police did nothing to stop him.

Socialist Party leader Olivier Faure said there was a "a double standard" in how Benalla had been treated compared to any ordinary French citizen.

Alexis Corbiere, an MP for the hard-left France Unbowed party, said Benalla "deserves to be punished with a prison sentence, at least a suspended sentence and with very heavy sanctions."

Benalla had apparently been allowed to shadow a group of riot police officers on the day of the protest after expressing an interest in finding out how demonstrations were policed. He was however only supposed to "observe" the operations, according to the Elysée Palace.

Other pictures taken on the day showed him wearing a police armband which he had apparently taken off during the scuffle with the young man.

President Macron has so far refused to comment on the incident, but the Elysée Palace confirmed that following the incident Benalla was suspended for two weeks without pay, demoted and given a final warning.

"This sanction was to punish unacceptable behaviour and it was a final warning before being sacked," presidential spokesman Bruni Roger-Petit told
reporters.

Although despite apparently having been demoted Benalla was pictured on board the open top bus that transported the victorious players down the Champs Elysées avenue on Monday before they met with Macron at the Elysée Palace.

Benalla continues to work at the Elysée Palace but pressure is growing on the president to fire him.

Benalla was a popular and ever-present member of Macron's campaign team, usually found several steps behind the then-candidate, and transferred to the presidential staff in M ay 2017.

Asked about the video and the investigation during a visit to southwest France on Thursday, Macron refused to comment, saying only: "I'm here with the people."

The 40-year-old centrist was in Australia on May 1, a traditional day of demonstrations in France organised by trade unions, but which was marred this year by hundreds of black-clad anarchists who clashed with police and smashed up shops.

Macron condemned the violence at the time in a tweet, saying that "everything will be done so that those responsible will be identified and held accountable for their actions."

Source: Google News France | Netizen 24 France

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Posted by On 7:12 AM

When the Identitarian Left Sounds Like the Far Right

Players on the French team celebrate winning the World Cup at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, July 15, 2018. (Christian Hartmann)

Is France’s victory in the World Cup this weekend a victory for, well, France, or for Africa, as some have suggested?

That the winning squad was incredibly diverse has been widely reported; the Washington Post’s WorldView newsletter noted that of France’s 23 players, 17 are the children of first-generation immigrants. Several of the team’s players hail from African countries â€" Cameroon, Morocco, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, among other places â€" while many of their teammates are the sons of African immigrants to France. Kylian Mbappé, the comp etition’s breakout star, is the child of a Cameroonian father and an Algerian mother.

But Mbappé, like most of his teammates, is French, born and raised.

Soccer (or football, if you prefer) fans worldwide feted the diverse ethnic composition of this World Cup’s teams as a triumph of globalization and openness â€" and right they are to do so. Of the 32 teams that met in Moscow, 22 had at least one foreign-born player, and 82 of the 739 players at the World Cup were born outside of the country for which they played. This recalls when in 1998 France’s black, blanc, beur team came out on top, giving people hope that the solution to France’s fractious racial politics was forthcoming. Two decades later, race relations remain contentious, but Sunday’s victory has provided reason for hope again.

However, this has also led some to herald the French team’s supposedly pan-African character as its primary feature. On a Monday evening episode of The Daily Show, Trevor Noah said, “Basically if you don’t understand, France is Africans’ backup team. Once Senegal and Nigeria got knocked out, that’s who we root for.” Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro also weighed in: “The French team looked like an African team, in fact it was Africa who won.” And Khaled Beydoun, a professor of law at the University of Detroit and scholar of Islamophobia, put it like this:

Whether nativists, racists and the Marine Le Pens in France like it or not, much of the world views France as the last African team standing in Russia, demonstrating brown and black excellence in all of its glory.

Mais au contraire, Le Pen and her ilk can rest easy with the knowledge that Beydoun, Noah, and other likeminded commentators are doing their job for them.

Speaking about France’s 2010 World Cup team, Marine Le Pen infamously argued that the binational background of many of its players prevented the m from truly representing France because they had “another nationality at heart.” In 1996, her father voiced a similar view when he said, “It is artificial that we make these foreign players and baptize them the French team.” This is to suggest that the French team is weakened by its inclusion of players with multicultural backgrounds.

Certainly, the views espoused by the Le Pens are different from the ones expressed by Noah and Beydoun; the former view the culturally diverse quality of the national team as anti-French, while the latter celebrate it. However, both groups’ positions stem from an assertion of difference, that even though Mbappé and his teammates are French, we ought to emphasize some non-Frenchness the identitarians contrive for their political purposes.

Those celebrating an “African” victory deny these Frenchmen consideration according to their French identity, which they proudly represent. From this vantage point the players are not seen as citizens of the French Republic, but rather as some foreign symbol of multiculturalism. This anti-republican sentiment isn’t only wrong; it contradicts the way the French view themselves, as citizens who should be subject to the same rights and privileges regardless of race.

Following his team’s victory, Paul Pogba (born to Guinean parents in France), described it like this: “There are all these [national origins], but you also see that in 1998. The France of today is a France full of different colors. This is to say in France, we’re all French. . . . France is a country like that, it’s like that we love it, and it’s like that we will always love it.”

This isn’t to deny there’s a complicated conversation about race and national identity currently underway in France, and indeed, this World Cup victory will add a new aspect to this debate. But as the country discusses this question, one thing is clear: The ideologues who call Sunday’s game an “ African” win are just plain wrong, and they faintly echo the far Right, to boot.

Zinedine Zidane, the legendary player who carried France’s first World Cup victory, recently said of the 1998 triumph: “We don’t talk about religion, we don’t talk about skin color, we don’t care about any of that . . . we are together, and we enjoy this moment.” The identitarians should listen to him.

Source: Google News France | Netizen 24 France

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Posted by On 7:12 AM

This biker defied gravity in Tour de France stunt. Thankfully, he stuck the landing.

July 18 at 6:46 PM Email the author

French mountain biker Alexis Bosson likely doesn’t have an aversion to heights, given his chosen sport, nor apparently does he posses a fear of crashing into professional cyclists.

Bosson, 30, executed a daring stunt in Le Petit Bornand, France, soaring over a group of Tour de France riders during Tuesday’s mountain stage. Bosson jumped from a ridge above the race route, flew over the riders and stuck the landing on the other side.

On the thought of crashing, Bosson said: “No you don’t think of this. If you think too much of this you don’t do it. I was in connection with one of my friends with a radio, I think he was more nervous than me.”

Bosson attached a camera to his bike to capture the moment from his perspective in midair. According to The Sun, the stunt took place during Stage 10 in the Alps and left the bikers unperturbed.

This was not the first stunt of its kind. Bosson and his friends pulled off a similar feat during the 2013 Tour de France. It was Bosson’s friend who flew through the air that year. This time around he said “once was enough.”

According to Bosson, they were inspired by Canadian rider Dave Watson, who first pulled off the jump in 2003. Business Insider pointed out that a similar escapade took place at the Tour de Pologne (Tour of Poland) in August 2017.

Bosson and his friends spent three months building the ramp he used to gain momentum before jumping Tuesday. He practiced the leap 20 times and made modifications between trials.

The group estimated the cyclists would be riding at approximately 30 kilometers per hour (18 mph). It took Bosson five seconds to reach the ridge’s edge from the start of the makeshift ramp. From these calculations, Bosson knew when to start pedaling. He wanted to jump before the ri ders crossed beneath him.

Despite some push back from the press about the risks of the trick, Bosson is adamant the prank didn’t pose any harm to the bikers. He claims his speed would undoubtedly have propelled him to the other side.

“After I was so relaxed, you can’t imagine,” Bosson says. “I was very happy and I turned my head and see the rest of the riders go.”

Bosson said the successful jump was probably enough to keep him content for now. But doesn’t rule out another stunt; “We’ll see. We never know.”

The Tour de France cyclists finished Stage 11 from Albertville to La Rosière Espace San Bernardo on Wednesday. The race will end in Paris on July 29.

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Source: Google News France | Netizen 24 France

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Posted by On 12:13 PM

Les Bleuettes hoping to extend France's summer football party

  • ​After Les Bleus in Russia, Les Bleuettes will soon get their chance to shine
  • The FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup kicks off in France on 5 August
  • The hosts will look to extend France's summer football party

Just like the French men's senior team, they too could be crowned world champions this summer. And just like Les Bleus in 1998, they could achieve the feat on home soil. France's women's U-20 side have their own date with destiny next month, with the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup set to kick off in Brittany on 5 August.

"What Les Bleus pulled off was exceptional," said Helene Fercocq, the France U-20 midfielder sharing her pride with FIFA.com. "It's incredible to even take part in a World Cup, bu t to actually win it is something else. You just had to see how happy they were. It takes a lot of hard work and sacrifice to get there, and what they experienced was a massive reward. It would be incredible to experience the same thing."

While Fercocq is preparing for her first taste of the U-20 Women's World Cup, goalkeeper Mylene Chavas already knows what to expect. Chavas was first choice for Les Bleuettes at the previous edition two years ago, and she excelled between the posts as France progressed all the way to the final â€" where they lost to Korea DPR.

"We're not putting any pressure on ourselves," said Chavas. "We knew what our goal was even before Les Bleus gave us even more motivation to achieve it. They did what they had to do, and now it's our turn to do the same thing. It's a different competition, and we have our own history to write after they wrote theirs."

Although Chavas and Co are deep in their preparations for next month's tournament, they were still able to celebrate France's triumph this weekend. "I watched the final with my family near to where I live â€" it was a little bar but a big party," explained the keeper. "I saw it in Reims with friends from my old club," added Fercocq. "I partied all night, but I kept my strength for this competition. I've been preparing for it for a while now and it's the only thing on my mind."

The French public are already primed, meanwhile. Stirred by the feats of Didier Deschamps' charges over the last month, they are looking forward to prolonging a famous summer for French football into August. "Les Bleus under Deschamps are perhaps a little like Les Bleuettes under Gilles Eyquem," said Chavas. "We're a very united squad like they were. We kind of resemble them in a way." Fe rcocq agreed: "We also have younger players, born in 1999 and 2000, who liven up the atmosphere and older players, born in 1998, who are calmer and the leaders. That's similar to Les Bleus."

Whether they too can expect a parade on the Champs-Elysees if they win the final on 24 August remains to be seen. "I doubt that will happen, but I'd love to do it," joked Fercocq. What is certain, however, is that France will never tire of seeing its football teams lift World Cup trophies.

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All Recommended Stories Source: Google News France | Netizen 24 France

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Posted by On 10:27 AM

Paul Pogba: France didn't 'give a s----' about Messi at World Cup

4:36 AM ET

  • Ian Holyman

Paul Pogba gave a passionate team talk before France's World Cup round-of-16 win over Argentina, telling teammates "Messi or no Messi, we don't give a s---."

The Manchester United midfielder also called on his teammates to "kill" their opponents, a French TV documentary has shown, as France came from 2-1 down to win 4-3 in Kazan.

Pogba was heavily criticised before the tournament after an underwhelming season with United, and a France Football poll showed fans felt the midfielder was not even worth a starting role in Russia.

Coach Didier Deschamps ignored public and media opinion as Pogba started six of France's seven matches -- only missing the final group game against Denmark with France already through -- and was widely regarded as one of the top performers as France went on to beat Croatia 4-2 in the final.

In a TF1 documentary entitled "Les Bleus 2018: au cÅ"ur de l'épopée russe" ("The Blues 2018, at the heart of their Russian epic"), Pogba is shown giving a stirring team talk in the dressing room just after Deschamps has spoken to the squad.

"The details boys. Fellas! We want warriors on the pitch today," Pogba said. "I don't want to go home tonight. Me, this evening, I'm not going home. Tomorrow, we're staying at the hotel.

"We're going to eat that f------ sauteed pasta again. I don't give a s---, we're not going home. We're going to finish happy. I want us to have a party tonight.

"I want everyone. Today, we run ourselves to death out on the pitch. No one lets anyone else down. No one drops off. On the pitch, we're all together. Good guys and warriors. Soldiers. We're going to kill them today, these Argentines. Messi or no Messi, we don't give a s---.

"We're coming to win the f------ World Cup. We have to get through this to do that. Come on boys!"

Source: Google News France | Netizen 24 France

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Posted by On 10:27 AM

Alaphilippe keeps France celebrating with Tour stage win

STAGE WINNER France’s Julian Alaphilippe rides breakaway during the 10th stage of the Tour de France cycling race, with the start in Annecy and finish in Le Grand-Bornand, France, on Tuesday. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

STAGE WINNER France’s Julian Alaphilippe rides breakaway during the 10th stage of the Tour de France cycling race, with the start in Annecy and finish in Le Grand-Bornand, France, on Tuesday. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

LE GRAND-BORNAND, France

France has a new cycling star.

Two days after the country’s soccer players won the World Cup, Julian Alaphilippe became the first French winner of a stage at this year’s Tour de France on Tuesday.

Fueled by previous disappointments and thoughts of his ill father watching on TV, Alaphilippe timed his break perfectly and pow ered to victory on the first day in the mountains, crossing the line alone, and finishing well ahead of his rivals for his first Tour win.

He finished 1 minute, 34 seconds ahead of Jon Izagirre Insausti, 1:40 ahead of Rein Taaramae, and 1:44 in front of overall leader Greg Van Avermaet.

Taaramae was leading when Alaphilippe attacked going up the category one Col de Romme, and the Estonian rider was unable to find a response. Alaphilippe increased his lead over the Col de la Colombiere before zooming down the final finish.

“I was really happy that the last kilometer was downhill,” Alaphilippe joked after giving the Quick Step team its third win from 10 stages.

The 26-year-old Alaphilippe pounded his chest and lifted his arms to celebrate as he crossed the line, and struggled to hold back his tears afterward.

The French rider, who previously won the Walloon Arrow one-day classic in Belgium in April and the 2016 Tour of California, had had plent y of disappointments over the years. He missed the 2017 Tour de France due to injury, and has endured narrow defeats to Peter Sagan.

“I’ve had plenty of frustrations. But they are things that make you stronger. The emotion I had today was not because of the frustrations but because of the pain. Because I really wanted this victory,” Alaphilippe said.

“I thought a lot of my family, of my dad who’s not well who was watching on the TV. It cracked me up because I knew he was watching. Yep, there were a lot of emotions.”

Asked if he expects to keep the red polka dot jersey given to the so-called King of the Mountains, Alaphilippe replied, “I don’t think so. It’s a long way to Paris but I’m really happy to have this one for a minimum of one day.”

The second of three Alpine stages takes place today.

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Source: Google News France | Netizen 24 France