Just as Francois Hollande was trying to persuade the French that life was getting better ahead of next year’s election, outbreaks of street violence and strikes are undermining his authority.
After months of protests against Hollande’s government, some demonstrators are getting aggressive with truck drivers illegally blocking oil refineries, burning tires and triggering gas lines across the country while the offices of Hollande’s Socialist Party have been vandalized in several cities across the country, most recently on Monday. News channels have been looping footage of a group of young men chasing two police officers from their patrol car and setting the vehicle on fire.
With his popularity already at record lows, the clashes are causing voters to question Hollande’s ability to maintain control. Hundreds of police officers have been injured during demonstrations — all while the president wields extraordinary powers to uphold law and order under a state of emergency introduced after last year’s terrorist attacks.