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France

Yearbook 2016

France. Plans for changes in labor law triggered several months of extensive strikes and protests in the spring. A large proportion of voters, as well as a left wing within the ruling Socialist Party, opposed proposals to make it easier for employers to dismiss employees.

2016 France

A protest movement called Nuit debout ("On the legs all night") gathered hundreds of thousands of people to demonstrations around the country and came to apply even other than labor law. Despite this, in May the government passed the labor market reform without a vote in the National Assembly and subsequently managed to pass a vote of no confidence initiated by the opposition. According to countryaah, the protests continued with strikes in public transport and at oil facilities and nuclear power plants.

2016 FranceOn National Day July 14, France was once again subjected to a major act of violence, which claimed the lives of 86 people and injured over 400. This happened when a truck plowed on the boardwalk in Nice where people gathered to watch fireworks. Only after 2 kilometers did it stop when the police shot the perpetrator, a 31-year-old Tunisian resident in France. He was described as a mentally unstable person inspired by violent Islamism.

The state of emergency that has prevailed since the terrorist attacks in Paris 2015 was just about to be abolished but was now extended instead.

Just a couple of weeks later, two 19-year-olds took several people hostage in a church in Normandy and cut the throat of an 85-year-old priest. The perpetrators, who swore allegiance to the terrorist sect of the Islamic State and tried to go to Syria themselves, were shot dead by police.

The attacks sparked a call for stricter regulation of Muslims and Muslim communities. The right-wing Republican leader, President Nicolas Sarkozy, advocated that up to 15,000 suspected Islamists be arrested or detained for prevention. About 30 resorts on the Riviera imposed a ban on the comprehensive bathing suit burkini, citing, among other things, that it would run counter to the country's customs and secular state of affairs. The bans caused a loud debate, not least when pictures were spread of police ordering Muslim women on beaches to undress. At the end of August, the country's highest administrative court upheld the Burkina ban in a case citing that it violated fundamental rights.

The field cleared during the year ahead of the 2017 presidential election. Sarkozy announced that he wanted to aim for a return, but when the Republicans held primary elections in November, he was eliminated in the first round. The decisive vote was between the former two prime ministers François Fillon and Alain Juppé. Prior to that, Minister of Economy Emmanuel Macron had resigned and announced that he would stand as an independent candidate, while the European Ecology-Green Party (EELV) appointed Yannick Jadot as his candidate.

The presidential election was thus expected to stand between Fillon and right-wing extremist National Front candidate Marine Le Pen.

President François Hollande announced that he would not run for re-election, citing the record-low support for him. Shortly thereafter, Prime Minister Manuel Valls resigned to stand in the Socialist Party's primary election in January. He was replaced by Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve.

A tug of war took place during the year around the informal migrant camp "The Jungle", which for years has been in Calais at the mouth of the canal tunnel. Aid organizations objected to the government's decision to demolish the camp and previous attempts had been canceled, but in October the demolition was carried out. A large part of the migrants now accepted to be relocated to one of around 300 refugee facilities elsewhere in the country where they could apply for asylum. Britain received a few hundred unaccompanied children from France.

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