“When the riots erupted all over France, Marseille was calm. I mean there were a few incidents here and there but nothing substantial. And why? We are one of the large cities of France, we have a large population of Muslim immigrants, thus why not here? Because we went to the streets, we talked to the people, we said that Paris is acting foolishly, w hy should we follow? Our city works in a different way, you know” (Interview 52). Marseille remained indeed relatively calm amid all the distress caused in other cities by the revolts of 2005, which provoked a national state of emergency. During the riots the international media commented on the perpetrators of the riots saying that the “majority of the youths committing attacks are Muslims, and of African and North-African origin.” Internal comcoming from the National Front further aggravated the negative image, by stating that French rioters should have their citizenship revoked. As violence, destruction, and protest spread from the Parisian suburbs throughout the country, France’s second largest city was only marginally affected. Although home to a large percentage of “beurs” (the term used to designate French-born children of North African migrants), Muslims, or migrants, according to the labels that were widespread in the public discourse, Marseille proved to be an exception to the “natural” dissatisfaction, growing as a consequence of encountering discrimination and illegality, of this population group.
KeywordsLocal Authority Social Cohesion Public Sphere Muslim Community National Front
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