French newspaper round-up 16 March

240

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to withdraw troops for Syria has the French press questioning his strategy with both L’Humanité and Le Figaro reporting on it. Libération is also reporting from a middle-class district of Paris where inhabitants are protesting against the opening of a homeless centre.

L’Humanité

We start with Communist daily L’Humanité, which is reporting on Syria. Will the withdrawal of Russian troops from the country open a new act of the war, asks an editorial.

“You can think what you want of the Russian intervention in Syria […] but if the ceasefire is holding, it’s partly because of the show of force of the Russian army” it says.

And now, argues L’Huma, Putin’s withdrawal could help with peace negotiations.

To prove its point, the paper says the Syrian oppositions announced “it wasn’t against talking directly to the Syrian government” after Moscow’s decision. “After 5 years [of conflict] and 280 000 deaths, that kind of announcement was undreamt of” writes L’Huma.

Le Figaro

Le Figaro is also devoting its front page to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision. “The surprise withdrawal intervenes amid repeated tensions between Vladimir Putin and his ally Bashar Al-Assad” it says.

Moscow apparently didn’t appreciate the comments from a Regime official saying “Bashard Al-Assad was a red line during the peace negotiations”.

Plus, says the paper, Russia has met its objective in Syria: to make a comeback on the international stage and to secure bases of the Syrian regime. Just like L’Huma, Le Figaro also sees the Russian troops withdrawal as “a turning point” of the Syrian conflict.

What doesn’t change, however, is the impact the Islamic State armed group is having on the region, concludes the paper.

Libération

Libération is reporting from the 16th arondissement of Paris. The 16th is the richest area of Paris and is perceived as privileged and conservative.

However, Paris is planning to build a 200 bed housing facility for homeless people in the 16th and organised a public meeting on the subject two days ago.

That’s where Libération is reporting from.

The inhabitants of the posh district are angry. Libé heard a lot of colourful insults, and the meeting that was supposed to last for two hours, was evacuated for “security concerns” after 25 minutes.

It doesn’t matter that “the 16th currently only offers 20 beds for homeless people when other districts offer hundreds” or that “the authorities have promised not to host migrants there” explains the left-wing paper.

Why then, are people so against the construction of this centre?

“People of the neighbourhood paid an insane amount of money to buy their flat and now we’re going to put migrants under their nose” one resident said. Some are worried for their security, and one of them compares Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo’s policies to North Korea.

“No this is just the 16th” Libé cheekily objects.

La Croix

The primary focus this morning in La Croix is a paedophilia scandal and the role of the Church in France. It’s interesting and disturbing to read.

The paper also runs a small opinion piece on presidential candidates that questions why there are so many of them.

“There’s already 30 of them, including a large number of completely unknown people” writes La Croix.

“The goal is to elect only one President. What could push that many men and women to take part in the race?” the paper asks.

“It’s one of the great mysteries of the world, just like whale stranding or the extinction of the dinosaurs” it concludes.