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MASKED ATTACKERS ASSAULT RN CAMPAIGNERS IN SAINT-ÉTIENNE; BREUIL HOSPITALIZED AFTER STROKE AND VIOLENT PROTESTS ERUPT IN NEW CALEDONIA OVER TEIN'S EXTRADITION AND VOTING REFORMS

June 20-26, 2024 | Issue 25 - EUCOM

Jayde Dorland, Mario López Ausín, Giulia Filomia, Sofia Lopez Simpson

Anya Golend-Pratt, Editor; Evan Beachler, Senior Editor


Saint-Etienne market[1]


Date: June 20, 2024

Location: Saint-Étienne, Loire Department, France

Parties involved: Saint-Étienne prosecutor’s office; Right-wing political party National Rally (RN); former RN president and current parliamentary party leader Marine Le Pen; attacked RN parliamentary candidate Hervé Breuil; unnamed RN campaigners; RN politicians; RN Loire Federation; RN Loire Federation leader Michel Lucas; left-wing political party La France Insoumise (LFI); left-wing political alliance New Popular Front; New Popular Front member and outgoing LFI member of parliament Andrée Taurinya; New Popular Front supporters; National Police; French citizens; Election candidates; unknown attackers

The eventPolice are investigating unknown masked individuals who attacked Breuil and four RN campaigners handing out leaflets in a Saint-Etienne market. Saint-Étienne’s prosecutor's office stated that the attackers stampeded, insulted, and threw water and flour on the victims,[2] with Breuil requiring medical examination after having a stroke.[3] RN’s Loire Federation has suspended its campaigning trail in the second constituency, with Lucas saying there is no guarantee for members’ safety. Le Pen accused “ultra-left militias” of the attack, citing supporters of the recently created New Popular Front.[4] Taurinya denounced  physical political violence in response, saying the LFI would “never attack a candidate.”[5]

Analysis & Implications:

  • RN politicians will very likely reinforce Le Pen’s accusations of the assailants’ affiliations by adopting similar narratives in their campaigning material, almost certainly attempting to encourage French citizens’ uncertainty toward the New Popular Front and their perceived condoning of political violence. Accusatory narratives will almost certainly seek to cause non-violent voter deliberation, encouraging sentiments that voting for the alliance will empower violent left-wing supporters and reinforce politically violent acts. RN will likely focus on cases of the alliance's supporters’ previous violence, with a roughly even chance of campaigns magnifying the threat of individuals willing to commit violent acts. RN members will unlikely directly link New Popular Front politicians to the attack, likely using violence at left-wing protests to polarize supporters, avoid scapegoating allegations, and reactive campaigning material that could damage RN’s reputation.

  • Violent tactics and attacks on politicians will very likely continue during the campaigning stage and first and second rounds of France’s parliamentary elections, likely requiring national authorities to increase security measures for running candidates and their supporters as the elections near. Election candidates will almost certainly enhance personal security, likely requiring state authorities to increase economic investment into security personnel and surveillance at public events and near officials’ residences. National Police will very likely focus security efforts on RN and New Popular Front candidates, likely observing violent escalation at left-wing protests against RN's migration rhetoric. Local authorities will very likely increase security checks at crowded rallies by offering training on new emergency management plans, such as evacuation routes, and conducting threat evaluations on new coordinated assault possibilities.


Date: June 24, 2024

Location: New Caledonia, France

Parties involved: French President Emmanuel Macron; France; French government; New Caledonian President Louis Mapou; New Caledonian Armed Forces (FANC); New Caledonian paramilitary police National Gendarmerie; New Caledonian police; New Caledonian emergency services; Pro-independent political party Caledonian Union; Caledonian Union offshoot Field Action Coordination Cell (CCAT); jailed CCAT leader Christian Tein; CCAT supporters and protestors; New Caledonian civilians; Nouméan residents; New Caledonian Indigenous Kanak community; New Caledonian farmers; tourists

The event: Violent protests reemerged following the incarceration and extradition of Tein to France, with demonstrators burning police vehicles, blocking roads, and setting fire to municipal buildings. A municipal council announced the attack of a fire service vehicle, potentially by gunshots, and that the scale of the protests has caused some schools to close. The protests are a demonstration by Kanaks in retaliation to the French government’s voting procedure reforms, which seek to allow French residents who have lived in New Caledonia for over 10 years to vote. Kanaks see the reform as threatening New Caledonian independence and a possible future referendum.[6]

Analysis & Implications:

  • France will very likely enhance security measures in Nouméa and Kanak majority territories to minimize the effects of the new protests on civilians. There is a roughly even chance that Macron will impose a state of emergency, likely attempting to curb the protests. France’s government will almost certainly increase police and military presence on the streets, with a roughly even chance of deploying French military personnel to the island. Protesters will unlikely stop demonstrating through violent tactics, such as street blocking, very likely increasing their actions against public and law enforcement sites when the judicial investigation makes new arrests.

  • The protesters’ targeting of New Caledonian emergency services will almost certainly require a reassessment of their defensive security to limit risks faced by personnel when responding to incidents. Assessments will very likely consider the implementation of physical reinforcements, such as installing bullet-resistant materials in emergency vehicles and deploying armed National Gendarmerie officials to accompany emergency services personnel. Mapou will very likely confer with emergency services authorities and Macron to discuss immediate security strategies implementation, with the adoption of measures, such as vehicular reinforcements, almost certainly depending on time allowance, cost, and threat criticality.

  • Prolonged protests in New Caledonia will almost certainly affect the local economy, very likely impacting tourism and agriculture. Perceived insecurity caused by fires and increasing protests will almost certainly decrease tourism and affect economic sectors like hospitality, travel agencies, and the food industry. Civilians and stranded tourists will very likely have reduced access to basic needs, such as water, as the protests continue and will likely have to resort to rationing. Road blockades will very likely interrupt the transportation chain and increase product prices, likely causing financial losses for farmers, food insecurity, and unequal distribution of goods such as medicine and food in local communities.


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[1] Saint-Etienne market, generated by a third party database

[5] Ibid

[6] Violent protests return to New Caledonia as pro-independence leader extradited, Swissinfo, June 2024, https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/violent-protests-return-to-new-caledonia-as-pro-independence-leader-extradited/81624277 

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