French riots already cost €1 billion worth of damage

Mass riots across France have left hundreds of buildings destroyed and hundreds of shops looted. (AP Photo/Aurelien Morissard, File)
By John Cody
6 Min Read

France has suffered €1 billion worth of damage due to widespread rioting, said Geoffrey Roux de Bézieux, head of France’s largest employer federation, the Movement of the Enterprises of France (MEDEF), during an interview with French newspaper Le Parisien.

“More than 200 shops were completely looted, 300 bank branches destroyed, 250 tobacconists affected, with operating methods of absolute violence. Everything was stolen, even cash registers, before setting fire to destroy. The insurers are mobilized to go as quickly as possible, I am quite confident that the businesses concerned will be compensated,” he said. Despite Bézieux’s claim that businesses will be paid out, insurance companies often raise premiums on businesses due to increased risk of future riots.

Police officers responding to nation-wide riots walk past a souvenir store in Paris, Saturday, July 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

However, according to Bézieux, this tremendous figure does not even factor in the effect on tourism, and also does not include damage to public institutions like schools, libraries, police stations, as well as the hundreds of vehicles torched during the nationwide riots. The rioters, for example, targeted one of the biggest libraries in the country, the Marseille Alcazar library, with arson damage likely costing taxpayers millions alone to restore.

“It is too early to give a precise figure but we are at more than a billion euros, not counting the damage to tourism. The videos of the riots, which circulated around the world, damage the image of France. It’s always difficult to know if the impact will be lasting, but there will certainly be a drop in bookings this summer when the season was promising. Trips have already been canceled,” said Bézieux.

The George Floyd riots in the United States had cost an estimated €2 billion, however, many experts argued that was a low estimate. France, meanwhile, is a much smaller country, and already hit the figure of €1 billion worth of damage in just seven days.

Police investigators work in a damaged and looted sports store after a third night of unrest, Friday, June 30, 2023 in Paris. Protesters erected barricades, lit fires and shot fireworks at police, who responded with tear gas and water cannons in French streets overnight as tensions grew over the deadly police shooting of a 17-year-old. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

The latest damage figures coming out of France must also be factored into the debate around immigration and arguments that Europe needs more foreigners to shore up public finances. Claims that the migrants will be needed to pay into the pension system of European countries have already been debunked numerous times, as they already cost countries like France and Germany tens of billions every single year for housing, education, and jobless benefits. If anything, these populations are burning a massive hole in the public finances of nations across the West.

However, when the financial damage of the French riots is also factored in, along with the significant resources dedicated to policing these migrant communities, arguments about the financial benefits of mass immigration appear to be, at least in France, quickly leading to a backlash amongst the public. In fact, the vast majority of French people — even before the riots — were saying that France had taken in too many migrants and that immigration had brought more disadvantages than advantages.

Increasingly clear who was behind the attacks

The videos of the riots show that the vast majority of rioters were urban youth with a foreign background, however, court cases are also confirming this to be the case.

CNews reporter Amaury Bucco posted a tweet pointing out that four rioters tried for the looting of stores in Paris and for receiving goods from these stores: three of them are migrants, including two illegal Algerians, one was under a deportation order (OQTF).

In a separate development, in Marseille: a 21-year-old man, son of a Malian diplomat, who came to demonstrate in tribute to Nahel, was arrested during the night for theft.

“Immediate appearances in Marseille: a 21-year-old man, son of a Malian diplomat, who came to demonstrate in tribute to Nahel, arrested during the night with four pairs of glasses and six pants. Again, clean record and again, the prosecution requests prison time,” wrote French journalist Clara Martot Bacry.

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