IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


3rd July, 2023 Geography

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  • The recent unrest in France following the death of a teenager due to excessive police force.


  • France experiences widespread protests after the death of a teenager due to excessive police force.
  • Protests include violence, arson, clashes with police, and arrests across the country.

Triggering Incident: Death of Nahel

  • Nahel, a 17-year-old resident of Nanterre, was driving a car without a license when stopped by two policemen.
  • The police attempted to stop the vehicle at a traffic light, but the driver ran the red light.
  • The car eventually stopped, and at least one officer aimed their gun at the vehicle during a conversation.
  • Against police orders, the vehicle drove away, resulting in a fatal bullet fired at Nahel, leading to his death.
  • The other passengers fled the scene.

Scale of Protests

  • Initial clashes between police and protesters occurred in Nanterre, with the deployment of 2,000 police personnel.
  • Protests quickly spread across France, fueled by long-standing issues of racism and disproportionate police force.
  • Public anger extends beyond police oppression to include economic and racial inequalities.

Public Sentiment and Demands

  • Nahel's grandmother urges an end to violence, expressing anger toward the officer responsible but not towards the police as a whole.
  • Protesters demand justice for Nahel's death and address broader societal issues.

Police Response and Investigation

  • The French interior ministry reports a significant decrease in arrests on Sunday, with over 3,000 people detained since the protests began.
  • An investigation into the officer's actions has been initiated, with the officer being charged with voluntary homicide.

President Macron's Statements

  • President Macron condemns Nahel's death as "unforgivable and inexplicable" and appeals for calm.
  • He emphasizes that violence against public institutions is unjustifiable and seeks social media cooperation to remove inflammatory content.

Historical Context and Concerns

  • The situation evokes memories of past unrest in 2005, when thousands were arrested during weeks of rioting in France.
  • Criticisms are raised regarding the reinforcement of police, prisons, and borders in France over the past three decades.

About France

  • France is situated in Western Europe and shares borders with several countries, including Spain, Italy, Germany, Belgium, and Switzerland.
  • France is divided into 18 administrative regions, including Île-de-France (with Paris as its capital), Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, Brittany, Normandy, and more.
  • The country features diverse landscapes, ranging from picturesque coastal areas along the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean to the beautiful French Alps and the charming countryside of Provence.

History and Culture

  • France has a rich history that dates back to prehistoric times, with evidence of human habitation since Paleolithic times.
  • The region was inhabited by Celtic tribes before it was conquered by the Romans in the 1st century BC, and it became known as Gaul.
  • France played a significant role in the Middle Ages, witnessed the Renaissance, and saw the rise of the powerful Bourbon dynasty.
  • The French Revolution, which took place from 1789 to 1799, marked a turning point in French history, leading to the establishment of the First French Republic.
  • France experienced significant devastation during both World War I and World War II and played a crucial role in the post-war European integration.

Landmarks and Tourism

  • Eiffel Tower: The Eiffel Tower in Paris is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world, attracting millions of visitors each year.
  • Louvre Museum: Located in Paris, the Louvre is the world's largest art museum and a historic monument, housing famous artworks such as the Mona Lisa.
  • Palace of Versailles: The opulent Palace of Versailles, near Paris, served as the royal residence of French kings and queens. It is renowned for its grandeur and extensive gardens.
  • French Riviera: The glamorous French Riviera, also known as the Côte d'Azur, offers stunning beaches, luxurious resorts, and vibrant nightlife, attracting tourists and celebrities.
  • Mont Saint-Michel: Situated on a rocky island, Mont Saint-Michel is a breathtaking abbey and medieval village that appears as if it's rising from the sea.


  • France is famous for its gastronomy and is often regarded as the culinary capital of the world. It is known for dishes such as coq au vin, boeuf bourguignon, ratatouille, and escargots.
  • France is renowned for its exquisite wines, with regions like Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Champagne producing some of the finest varieties. The country is also famous for its wide variety of cheeses, including Camembert, Brie, and Roquefort.

Arts and Literature

  • France has a rich literary tradition, with influential authors such as Victor Hugo, Voltaire, Albert Camus, and Marcel Proust.
  • French art has made significant contributions to the world, including movements like Impressionism (Monet, Renoir) and Cubism (Picasso, Braque). The Louvre Museum houses iconic artworks, including Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa.

Fashion and Luxury

  • France, particularly Paris, is known as a global fashion capital, hosting renowned fashion events like Paris Fashion Week. It is home to iconic fashion houses such as Chanel, Dior, and Louis Vuitton.
  • French luxury brands have gained worldwide recognition, encompassing sectors like fashion, perfumes, cosmetics, and accessories.

Sports and Events

  • Football is the most popular sport in France, with a strong national team that has won the FIFA World Cup and the UEFA European Championship.
  • The Tour de France is an annual prestigious bicycle race that takes place over three weeks, covering various regions of the country.
  • France hosts one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments, the French Open, also known as Roland-Garros


Q) Examine the underlying factors contributing to the recent protests in France. (150 words)