French Election Results Spark Celebrations and Riots

The victory of the left-wing New Popular Front coalition ignited widespread unrest

France witnessed widespread riots, clashes, and looting after the left-wing New Popular Front coalition triumphed over the right-wing National Rally and President Emmanuel Macron’s centrists on Sunday.

Over 30,000 riot police officers, including 5,000 in Paris alone, were deployed across France to prevent violence as political tensions heightened ahead of the election showdown between the right and left.

Shortly after preliminary results were announced on Sunday night, riots erupted at the New Popular Front rally in downtown Paris, with Nantes, Lyon, Marseille, and Rennes soon following suit.

The crowd gathered at Republic Square, setting off fireworks and chanting: “Young people, screw the National Front!”

Police struggled to disperse the crowd using tear gas as a masked mob began throwing bottles, erecting barricades, and setting bikes on fire. At least one officer was reportedly injured by a Molotov cocktail.

Video footage posted online shows police charging towards the center of the square.

Multiple fire brigades were called in to extinguish the fires started by rioters.

Paris restaurants, banks, and other businesses had attempted to protect their windows with wooden panels ahead of the election day, but the mob reportedly looted several shops.

After police cleared the square, piles of debris and broken windows remained.

French President Emmanuel Macron called for snap elections last month after the right-wing National Rally party (RN) performed strongly in the EU parliamentary vote, surpassing his Renaissance Party by double the votes. Despite leading the first round of elections with 33% of the vote, the RN suffered a setback, finishing third with 143 seats in the second round. The left-wing New Popular Front bloc emerged as the winner with 182 seats, but without an absolute majority. Macron’s bloc trailed in second place with 168 seats.