“I cannot let it be said that we are reducing freedoms in France,” Emmanuel Macron said on Friday on the online media Brut, advocating appeasement after the heated controversy over “police violence” – an expression he agreed to pronounce- and the law on “comprehensive security”.
During 2:15, the Head of State swept through a multitude of subjects in a style that sometimes evoked that of the “great debate” at the beginning of 2019, and answered tit for tat to questions, sometimes incisive, of the journalists of Brut, video site mostly watched by young people. He was also, briefly, vehement in defending his ecological ambition.
“It’s a big lie. We are not Hungary or Turkey”, he had previously exclaimed, being questioned at length about the political tensions created by the concomitance of the images of the beating by police officers of a producer black and the controversy over Article 24.
This debate “has been contaminated by a militant speech, hostile to the government and to your servant”, according to him. “Do not let France be caricatured,” he said, regretting that journalists are participating in a “co-production of the bad image” of the country.
Responding to journalist Rémy Buisine, recently brought down by police officers during the brutal evacuation of migrants from Place de la République in Paris, Emmanuel Macron acknowledged that there was “violence in our society” for which there had to be have “zero tolerance on both sides”.
On the one hand, “there are police officers who are violent” and “who must be punished”. “I have no problem repeating the term police violence but I deconstruct it” because “it has become a slogan for people who have a political project, he said.
On the other hand, he denounced the violence against a policewoman “attacked by madmen”, “wild people” during the demonstration last Saturday in Paris against the law “global security”.
He thus paid tribute to “thousands of police officers who have suffered violence over the past 3 years, some of whom have been killed”.
Regarding the evacuation of the Place de la République, Emmanuel Macron considered that it was “never normal to have behaviors that do not live up to expectations” but felt that “it was necessary to remove migrant tents.
He said the real problem was “the right to asylum (…) hijacked by trafficking networks”.
Another challenge, according to him, is to face the question of facial checks. Because, “today, when we have a skin color that is not white, we are much more controlled (…) We are identified as a problem factor and it is unbearable”, he said. he regrets.
The Head of State promised the launch in January of a national platform for reporting discrimination, managed by the State, the Defender of Rights and associations. At the same time, pedestrian cameras for police officers will be generalized.
He also envisioned new “exceptional aid” for young people in precariousness because of the Covid-19 crisis, as well as an improvement in the student scholarship system. The government “will do everything” to be able to reopen “tutorials and half-lectures” in face-to-face a little earlier in January and not at the end of January or beginning of February as planned so far, he also said.
“No lessons to be received”
At the end of the interview, the president banged his fist on the table to refute any backsliding on his ecological commitments, only acknowledging a “collective failure” on the ban on glyphosate. “I have no lessons to receive!” “No one has done as much for ten years”! “, He lost his temper, wondering about the implementation of the proposals of the Citizen’s Convention on the climate.
“I don’t mean to say that because the 150 citizens wrote something, it’s the Bible or the Koran,” he said. “I am really very angry with activists who helped me at the beginning and who say now, we should take everything,” he said, citing the criticisms of Cyril Dion, a guarantor of the Convention.
Briefly questioned on his political future, he declared that he could not “put himself in the disposition to be a candidate” for the presidential election of 2022. Because in this case, “I will not be able to take any more the risks which I have to take and the right decisions, “he explained, not ruling out the possibility that he could not stand again.
By choosing to speak in Brut, Emmanuel Macron wanted to address young people, often depressed by the two confinements, deprived of odd jobs and social ties. “It’s hard to be 20 years old in 2020,” he admitted in October.
A survey published on Friday by Odoxa-Dentsu Consulting for France Info and Le Figaro shows that the Head of State is making clear progress among young people: 49% of 18-24 year olds believe he has been a good president, 58% find him friendly, 45% humble and 41% close to people.