THE GOVERNMENT of French president Emmanuel Macron went into a full blown crisis this week with riots in Nantes on Saturday where thousands of demonstrators marched through the western city outraged at the death of a young music fan who drowned after being tear-gassed by police.
24 year old Steve Maia Caniço was last seen at the all-night Fête de la Musique in the city on June 21-22, which was attacked and broken up by baton wielding police who fired hundreds of rounds of tear-gas into the crowd of young fans.
The festival was held on the banks of the river Loire at a point where there are no protective railings, and film of the police attack shows young people blinded by tear-gas being forced into the river.
In all, 14 people had to be rescued from the water but Steve Maia Caniço’s body was not recovered from the bottom of the Loire until last week. Since he went missing posters have been put up around Nantes demanding ‘Where is Steve?’ and also in the French National Assembly committee.
Saturday’s demonstrators were further outraged by the claim made by the French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe that no link could be made between the police attack on the festival in June and Steve’s death.
The peaceful demonstration against police violence started with a silent protest on Saturday morning with flowers thrown into the river, but demonstrators at the city centre later were once again met with a barrage of tear-gas and water cannon after they held up placards reading ‘Who killed Steve?’ and ‘Where is the justice for Steve?’
The answer to this is that there will be no justice for Steve or the millions of French workers and youth who are battling against a Macron government that has unleashed the full brutality of the police and the state in its drive to impose the full impact of capitalism’s crisis onto their backs.
The brutality of the police against youth at a music festival follows the attempts by the beleaguered Macron, whose popularity rating in France has reached a low of 27%, to impose his economic reforms through extreme violence by the state and its forces.
Since November 17 last year a mass movement of the ‘Yellow Vests’ has taken to the streets every week against the proposals by Macron to slash the public sector, and cut employment benefits and pensions.
Increasingly, Macron has turned to the notorious French riot police, the CRS, to violently attack Yellow Vest demonstrations with tear-gas and lethal balls fired into the crowds resulting in nearly 250 head injuries and severe eye injuries.
What is clear from the attack on a peaceful music festival for the crime of being too loud, is that the French state is determined to crush and intimidate the most revolutionary section of the working class, the young people, who have been at the forefront of the Yellow Vest movement.
Last Wednesday the French interior minister Christophe Castaner denounced the Yellow Vests as terrorists. It is not the working class and youth who are the terrorists – it is the Macron government determined to inflict the violence of poverty, backed up by the use of state terror, in order to keep French capitalism from collapse and ensure the profits of the bosses and bankers.
The revolutionary uprising of workers and youth has already spread beyond the borders of France and across Europe as capitalism has only one way out of its crisis, by gearing up its state forces to take on the working class and defeat it in the streets.
French workers and youth have shown their strength and their determination to confront the capitalist state, that in its weakness is forced to rely on its armed bodies.
The burning issue today is the building of the revolutionary leadership of the Fourth International in every country to lead and organise the seizure of power and advance to a workers state and the victory of the world socialist revolution.