List of incidents of civil unrest in France

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This is a list of incidents of civil unrest in France. Civil unrest can include, rioting, strikes, violent labor disputes, or minor insurrections.

13th century[edit]

16th century[edit]

17th century[edit]

18th century[edit]

  • 1775: Flour War, a wave of riots in April to May 1775, that followed an increase in grain and bread prices, because police withheld grain from the royal stores in addition to poor harvests.
  • 1789 – 1799: French Revolution, a revolution that overthrew the monarchy, established a republic, experienced violent periods of political turmoil, and finally culminated in a dictatorship by Napoleon that forcibly brought many of its ideals to Western Europe.

19th century[edit]

20th century[edit]

  • 1910 – 1911: Champagne Riots, resulted from a series of problems faced by grape growers in the Champagne area of France.
  • 1921: Violence that broke out at the premiere of the play The Gas Heart.
  • 1926: Bloody Sunday, political clashes that occurred in Colmar, Alsace on August 22, 1926.
  • 1934: 6 February 1934 crisis, an anti-parliamentarist street demonstration in Paris organized by far-right leagues that culminated in a riot
  • 1947: 1947 strikes in France, a series of insurrectional strikes
  • 1968: May 1968 events in France, a volatile period of civil unrest that was punctuated by demonstrations and massive general strikes as well as the occupation of universities and factories across France.
  • 1979: Youths of North African origin rioted in the Lyon suburb of Vaulx-en-Velin following an arrest of a local youth. Believed to be the first suburban riot in French history.[1]
  • 1981: Rodéo (riot), riots that consisted of stealing cars, driving them in tight circles, and ultimately burning them.
  • 1990: Rioting in Vaulx-en-Velin after a young man of Spanish origin was killed in a motorbike crash allegedly caused by police.[1]
  • 1991: Violence broke out in Sartrouville after the fatal shooting of an Arab teenager by a supermarket security guard.[2]
  • 1991: Rioting occurred in Mantes-la-Jolie after a policewoman and an Algerian man were killed.[3]
  • 1992: Following the death of 18-year-old Mohamed Bahri in Vaulx-en-Velin at the hands of police, youths attacked the town's police station and burned cars.[1]
  • 1995: Rioting in several eastern suburbs of Lyon following the police killing of terrorist Khaled Kelkal, a key organizer of the 1995 France bombings
  • 1997: Rioting occurred in Dammarie-lès-Lys after 16-year-old Abdelkadher Bouziane was shot and killed by police and his 19-year-old friend wounded.[4]
  • 1998: Two days of riots occurred in suburban Toulouse after 17-year-old Habib Muhammed was shot by police during a car theft.[5]

21st century[edit]

  • 2005: 2005 French riots, a series of riots that occurred in the suburbs of Paris and other French cities involving the burning of cars and public buildings at night.
  • 2006: 2006 youth protests in France, riots resulting from opposition to a measure set to deregulate labour in France.
  • 2007: 2007 Villiers-le-Bel riots, riots in the Val-d'Oise department that began following the deaths of two teenagers whose motorcycle collided with a police vehicle.
  • 2007–09: 2007–09 university protests in France, protest movements resulting from several reform projects under Minister for Higher Education and Research Valérie Pécresse.
  • 2009: 2009 French riots, a series of riots that occurred on Bastille Day (14 July) in the commune of Montreuil, an eastern suburb area of Paris.
  • 2013: 2013 Trappes riots, riots that broke out after police arrested a man who assaulted a police officer who tried to check the identity of his wife wearing a Muslim veil
  • 2014: 2014 Sarcelles riots, a pro-Palestinian protest against the Israeli ground invasion of Gaza degenerated into an antisemitic riot in Sarcelles, France.
  • 2016: 2016 French taxi driver strike, a strike by taxi drivers in several major cities against Uber, a transportation network company, included many road blockades, fires, overturned vehicles, and the blockade of roads leading to the two major airports in Paris.[6]
  • 2016: Nuit debout, protests that grew out of opposition to proposed labor reforms.
  • 2017: Protests started following accusations a police officer anally raped a young black man with a baton.[7] Anti-police protests continued well into March 2017 when migrants were met with resistance from Paris residents.
  • 2017: During May Day protests in Paris, a group of about 150[8] hooded demonstrators disrupted the march, throwing "Molotov cocktails, firebombs and other objects at the police near Place de la Bastille."[9] These "violent protesters, who did not carry any union or election paraphernalia, appeared to be from the same fringe groups that have targeted anti-government protests in the past."[9] Riot police responded with batons and tear gas.[9] Six police officers were injured, two of them seriously, by petrol bombs.[10]
  • 2018: Ongoing Yellow vests movement (French: Gilets jaunes protests) over dissatisfaction with wealth disparity and ongoing increases to fuel taxes.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Motta, Alessio. "Police blunders and riots". CAIRN INFO. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  2. ^ Phillips, John. "Youth of Paris suburbs rampage again". UPI. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  3. ^ "Riot Police Sent to Paris Suburbs". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  4. ^ Pivois, Marce (20 December 2017). "Deux jeunes abattus par la police en deux jours. Soirées de violence à Dammarie-les-Lys. Mercredi, un jeune a été victime des balles d'un policier". (in French). Libération. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  5. ^ Finn, Gary (December 15, 1998). "Second day of Toulouse riots over killing". The Independent. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  6. ^ "One in five flights cancelled as France hit by aviation, taxi strikes". France 24. 26 January 2016. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  7. ^
  8. ^ "May Day in France: Six officers injured in riots". Ten Network Holdings. Retrieved 8 May 2017.
  9. ^ a b c "May Day violence breaks out in Paris; demonstrations around the world". Associated Press. May 1, 2017.
  10. ^ "Riot officers injured after petrol bombs thrown in Paris clashes". ITV. May 1, 2017.