Week in Review: Cracks in France’s healthcare, toppling statues and birth of ‘La Résistance’

Week in Review
Week in Review © France 24

French health workers took to the streets this week to highlight a crisis at the heart of a healthcare system often touted as the world's best. Elsewhere, nations debated whether to topple statues of figures from slavery or the colonial era while Britain and France joined forces to mark 80 years since a little-known general by the name of Charles de Gaulle called for France to resist the Nazis from his exile in London.



‘Victory’ at what cost? How Covid-19 exposed cracks in France’s cherished healthcare system

Days after French President Emmanuel Macron declared a “first victory” in the battle against Covid-19, health workers protesting in cities across France told a very different tale of a crisis that has rattled a system long touted as one of the world's best. 

Hidalgo, Dati, Buzyn: Three women, three strategies in Paris City Hall race

Three women are contending for the Paris mayor's office in a run-off election on June 28: Socialist incumbent Anne Hidalgo; conservative Rachida Dati, a former justice minister; and Agnès Buzyn, who was health minister in Macron's centrist government until February.

French teachers scramble to adapt after Macron announces surprise restart of classes

French preschools, primary schools and middle schools will reopen on Monday with “mandatory presence” for all of the country’s pupils, Macron announced in a shock move, meaning the nation’s teachers had just one week to prepare their back-to-school programmes.

Ukraine’s Covid-19 lockdown leads to baby pile-up and surrogacy backlash

Covid-19 lockdowns have led to heartbreaking delays for many parents eager to claim their infants born through surrogacy. With travel restrictions to Ukraine now easing, there have been a flurry of emotional homecomings. But dozens of babies remain uncollected, and the situation has shone a harsh light on the country's booming surrogacy industry.

Covid-19: Transmission fears spark bicycle frenzy in post-lockdown Paris

While Paris has long yearned to become the world’s No. 1 biking capital, it wasn’t until the coronavirus prompted widespread fears of transmission on public transport that Parisians really started to pedal. 

Resistance heroes honoured on 80th anniversary of de Gaulle's call to resist Nazis

Four members of the French Resistance were honoured by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron at a ceremony marking 80 years since General Charles de Gaulle made his famous appeal for resistance against the Nazis from the BBC in London during World War II.

General Charles de Gaulle at the BBC in October 1941.
General Charles de Gaulle at the BBC in October 1941. © Musée de l’Ordre de la Libération



Colbert, Gallieni, De Gaulle: The figures at the centre of France’s statue debate

From Confederate leaders in the US, to slave traders in the UK, statues of controversial historic figures have been targeted by protesters around the world. In France, statues of people involved in the country’s colonial past that have been targeted, ranging from a 17th century statesman to a former president.

From left to right, statues of Joseph Gallieni, Charles de Gaulle and Jean-Baptiste Colbert.
From left to right, statues of Joseph Gallieni, Charles de Gaulle and Jean-Baptiste Colbert. © AFP / FRANCE 24

‘We feel insulted’: French police protest against chokehold ban

Police in France protested this week over a government ban on using chokeholds to restrain suspects, with the technique coming under scrutiny following the deaths of George Floyd in the US and a string of similar incidents in France.

A police officer protests in Nice, France, on Thursday, June 11, 2020.
A police officer protests in Nice, France, on Thursday, June 11, 2020. © Reuters / France 24




Meeting Syrian doctors on the Covid-19 front line in France

At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic when medical workers were overwhelmed, many foreign medics volunteered to support their French colleagues. Our reporters went to meet Syrian doctors living in France, who are committed to helping their host country – sometimes at the risk of their own lives – and whose skills in a war zone proved a valuable asset.

Reporters © FRANCE 24


'Unwelcome guests': The plight of the Afghan community in Iran

As anti-racist protests spread across the globe, we examine the plight of the Afghan community in Iran, sometimes called "unwelcome guests". Recent cases of Iranian police violence against Afghan refugees have highlighted the tensions and power imbalance between the neighbouring countries. We speak to Fawzia Koofi, Afghanistan's first woman deputy speaker of parliament.


Looking back at the rise of the French Resistance

On the 80th anniversary of Charles de Gaulle's appeal to the French people to resist Nazi occupation, French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister marked the historic event in ceremonies across the Chanel. But while June 18, 1940, is forever ingrained in France's collective memory, the truth is that it didn't immediately play out as hoped.


France after lockdown: Social distancing at the café

With France easing its lockdown, there's a welcome sense of normalcy in Paris as people once again fill the capital's famous café terraces. But how does that work with social distancing rules? Also, the Eiffel Tower and cinemas are getting ready to re-open, but strict hygiene rules will apply there too. 

French Connections
French Connections © France 24


Grand reopening? FRANCE 24 and Deutsche Welle at the French-German border

As many EU nations lift their Covid-19 travel restrictions, FRANCE 24’s François Picard in Schœneck and Deutsche Welle's Melinda Crane in Saarbrücken at the France-Germany border examined why some locals on the French side are still bitter about Berlin's unilateral decision to erect barriers that hadn't been seen in decades.


A spectacular, visually overwhelming light-and-sound museum to cure your lockdown blues

The world's largest digital arts centre has opened in a former submarine base in the southern French city of Bordeaux. The enormous chambers and dazzling visual effects of the Bassins de Lumières, with exhibitions dedicated to Gustave Klimt and Paul Klee, are exactly what we need after nearly three months in confinement. 

Film show: 'Is Gone With the Wind' too insensitive to the horrors of slavery?

As anti-racism protests sweep the globe, films and television shows featuring insensitive depictions of race have been pulled from VOD platforms and cinemas. The 1939 classic "Gone With the Wind" has found itself in the spotlight, with some people calling for it not to be shown anymore – the Grand Rex cinema in Paris planned to celebrate the re-opening of cinemas nationwide by showing the famous film before Warner Bros. decided to withdraw it. Is this romance set against the backdrop of the American Civil War too insensitive to the horrors of slavery to be shown today?



#SayHerName movement highlights female victims of police brutality

As Black Lives Matter protests sweep through the world, we report on black female victims of police brutality in America that have often failed to attract attention. We also look at the French women taking to the streets in the name of racial justice and talk to journalist and activist Rokhaya Diallo about how women on both sides of the Atlantic are driving the movement.


France's Mercantour National Park, a hiker's paradise

The Mercantour National Park in the south of France is a hiker's paradise. Roger Settimo, 94, discovered the site almost 66 years ago and has spent his whole life studying and photographing its wildlife. At altitude, hikers can see marmots and deer, admire bucolic landscapes or take an interest in prehistoric engravings. FRANCE 24 takes you to discover these breathtaking mountains, where more than 400,000 visitors come to recharge their batteries each summer.

Mercantour national park
Mercantour national park © France 24


(Post)-confinement, #12 weeks: The best of our reports on France's Covid-19 lockdown

In the final edition of our show on the coronavirus crisis, we bring you a selection of our reports from the past 12 weeks on the consequences of imposing, and then gradually lifting, the lockdown in Paris and around the country.


The post-Covid world: What to expect for fashion?

The Covid-19 pandemic and the ensuing global lockdown have had a profound effect on the world of fashion. So what will our sartorial future look like? Designer Jennifer Rönne is pushing for more sustainability while Dana Messika is rethinking her silhouettes. The French Institute of Fashion, meanwhile, is urging labels to turn their socially responsible pledges and promises into concrete action. 

Fashion © France 24

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