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France

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Index
  1. France Main Page
  2. France Gains Territory in the Hundred Year's War
  3. Birth of French Republic
  4. Germany Occupies France During World War II
  5. Economic Troubles Under Mitterand
  6. Jacques Chirac Gains French Presidency
  7. Protests and Riots Result from Social Inequality and High Unemployment
  8. Nicolas Sarkozy Spearheads Effort to Improve U.S.–France Relations
  9. France Makes Headlines with Ban on Headscarves and DSK Scandal
  10. Sarkozy Loses Reelection Bid
  11. France Deploys Troops to Mali
  12. France Becomes 14th Nation to Approve Same-Sex Marriage
  13. NSA Leaks Strain Relationship with the U.S.
Protests and Riots Result from Social Inequality and High Unemployment

Rioting erupted on Oct. 27, 2005, in the impoverished outskirts of Paris and continued for two weeks, spreading to 300 towns and cities throughout France. It was the worst violence the country has faced in four decades. The rioting was sparked by the accidental deaths of two teenagers, one of French-Arab and the other of French-African descent, and grew into a violent protest against the bleak lives of poor French-Arabs and French-Africans, many of whom live in depressed, crime-ridden areas with high unemployment and who feel alienated from the rest of French society.

In March and April 2006, a series of protests took place over a proposed labor law that would allow employers to fire workers under age 26 within two years without giving a reason. The law was intended to control high unemployment among France's young workers. The protests continued after President Chirac signed a somewhat amended bill into law. But on April 10, Chirac relented and rescinded the law, an embarrassing about-face for the government.

Presidential elections held in April 2007 pitted Socialist Ségolène Royal against conservative Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy , the nominee for the Union for a Popular Movement. Late in the race, centrist candidate Francois Bayrou emerged as a contender. Sarkozy, with 30.7%, and Royal, taking 25.2%, prevailed in the first round of voting. Sarkozy went on to win the runoff election, taking 53.1% of the vote to Royal's 46.9%.

Next: Nicolas Sarkozy Spearheads Effort to Improve U.S.–France Relations
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