Macron dances while Paris burns: French President slammed for attending Elton John concert while country hit by riots

30 June 2023, 12:39 | Updated: 30 June 2023, 12:40

French President Emmanuel Macron attended Elton John's concert on Wednesday night
French President Emmanuel Macron attended Elton John's concert on Wednesday night. Picture: Bianca Brandolini/Social Media/Alamy/Getty
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Emmanuel Macron has been slammed after he was filmed dancing at Elton John's Paris concert on Wednesday while his country faced the 'worst riots in decades'.

Unrest erupted on Tuesday after a French policeman shot a teenage delivery driver in Paris, with violence the capital worsening on Wednesday.

Nearly 1,000 people have been arrested since the killing on Tuesday, with Macron urging for "calm".

But some feel he has taken that sentiment too seriously, as he was filmed dancing the night away at Paris's Accor Arena alongside his wife.

He was later pictured smiling with Elton John and his husband.

Thierry Mariani, an MEP for National Rally, said: "While France was on fire, Macron was not at the side of his minister of the interior or the police but he preferred to applaud Elton John."

Thursday saw the third night of violence in a row with looting now spreading from Paris to across the country, including in Lille in the north and Marseille in the south.

Some 40,000 officers have been deployed across France.

Some 667 people were arrested in France overnight after the officer suspected of killing the teenager arrested on suspicion of homicide.

He has since apologised and remains in custody.

Rioting broke out in the streets of Marseille
Rioting broke out in the streets of Marseille. Picture: Social Media
Drone footage of smoke rising from the burning streets of Marseille
Drone footage of smoke rising from the burning streets of Marseille. Picture: Social Media

Macron said on Friday morning that another crisis meeting will be held over the situation.

Meanwhile, French interior minister Gérald Darmanin said: "Last night, our police, gendarmes and firefighters courageously faced rare violence. In accordance with my firm instructions, they made 667 arrests."

Macron at an Elton John concert on Wednesday
Macron at an Elton John concert on Wednesday. Picture: social media

On Thursday evening, the police officer issued an apology to the family while in custody.

His lawyer Laurent-Franck Liénard said he was "devastated" and that he "doesn't get up in the morning to kill people".

Footage of the shooting went viral online and a police officer has been arrested
Footage of the shooting went viral online and a police officer has been arrested. Picture: Social Media

Supermarkets were broken into, young people with batons had destroyed a pharmacy and McDonalds, and the town hall of Clichy-sous-Bois was set alight in the eastern suburbs of Paris.

Police clear a street on the third night of protests sparked by the fatal police shooting of a 17-year-old driver in the Paris suburb of Nanterre, France
Police clear a street on the third night of protests sparked by the fatal police shooting of a 17-year-old driver in the Paris suburb of Nanterre, France. Picture: Alamy

Videos shared online show piles of rubbish set alight in various parts of the country.

Firefighters urged Parisians to only make calls to the service in emergencies while they continue to tackle the growing riots and fires.

Read more: 'I hurt for my France': Kylian Mbappé and other French footballers slam Paris police for shooting teenager dead

Read more: Pictured: French-Algerian teenager shot by police in Paris following traffic stop as mother mourns 'love of my life'

The riots have spread across France since Nahel M's killing.
The riots have spread across France since Nahel M's killing. Picture: Alamy

Read more: Night of anarchy in Paris after police shooting of French-Algerian teenager during traffic stop

Read more: France deploys 40,000 more police, as officers tear gas Paris protesters led by mother of teen boy 'executed' by officer

Over 100 people have been arrested across France on the third night so far as a result of the ongoing unrest in the country.

It comes after it was announced earlier on Thursday that some 40,000 police officers had been deployed in preparation for protests.

The country's interior minister, Gérald Darmanin, said 170 officers were injured during Wednesday night’s riots and 180 people were arrested.

Protests have broken out in other French cities since Nahel’s killing, including Lyon, Lille and Toulouse.

Officers shot tear gas into the crowd of protesters in the Paris suburb of Nanterre on Thursday as they struggled to control the unrest.

It follows the shooting of 17-year-old Nahel M on Tuesday by an officer.
It follows the shooting of 17-year-old Nahel M on Tuesday by an officer. Picture: LBC/Family handout

Nahel's mother Monica sat on a truck at a 6,000 person protest, which started out as peaceful, on Thursday wearing a 'Justice for Nahel' T-shirt.

She cried out: "I am for Nahel, I am for Nahel!", as protesters responded: "Justice for Nahel! Justice for Nahel!"

But as the march continued, the atmosphere descended as some protesters started fires and throwing objects at police.

French President Emmanuel Macron labelled the shooting "inexcusable" but appealed for calm on Wednesday.

Nahel's mother said earlier on Thursday: "He was everything to me, and that son of a b***h shot him," she said.

Speaking in a video on Instagram, she said: "He gave me a big kiss and told me he loved me, I told him to be careful, we left the house at the same time and went to McDonalds, then I went to work like everyone.

"An hour later my son was shot. What do I do now?"

She went on in: "I only had one, he was my best friend, my son, we were so close, thank you all for your support, I don't know what else to say."

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