PARIS – Can violence be part of democracy?

An initially peaceful demonstration of firefighters on Tuesday (28 January) ended in clashes between the firemen, many of which were armed, and the French reserve of the national police commonly known as CRS. Violent demonstrations have increased in recent weeks. 

Previous justice minister Robert Badinter, who abolished the death penalty in France back in 1981, has warned that violence can’t be part of democracy.

Interviewed on TV on Monday, he slammed the protesters from the left for brandishing Macron’s head at the end of a pike and the atmosphere of lynching and violence that for the past year has permeated most events in France.

“Behind the symbol, there is the impulse. And here the impulse is hatred, the will to destroy physically. Those who surrender to that are already outside of democracy. And you know, I remember the cry of a fascist general in Toledo: ‘E viva la muerte’. And whether we like it or not they are the same species,” Badinter said.  (

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