How the country responds now will have far-reaching consequencesby Emily Winterbotham , Lizz Pearson / July 19, 2016 / Leave a comment
As France reels from the tragedy in Nice, the third major attack in 18 months, the deaths of over 80 people will likely provide more fodder for the anti-Europe and anti-immigration line of the Front National (FN). If France is to combat both terror and the calls of the extreme right, it will need to ensure aggressive counter-terrorism mechanisms are complemented by a far-reaching counter-radicalisation strategy promoting the values of equality, liberty and fraternity. Such a strategy is in place, but it is years behind similar projects in other countries. Some catching-up is required.
The background of both the Nice attack, in which a lorry was driven for more than a mile through the crowds assembled to watch the Bastille Day fireworks, and of its attacker, identified as a 31-year-old man of Franco-Tunisian origin, are still being clarified. But FN leader Marine Le Pen wasted little time in using the event to score political points against the French government’s response to terrorism, fanning the flames of domestic discontent. Speaking to Le Figaro, she advocated measures to deprive terrorists of nationality, close Salafi mosques and ban certain organisations.