French President Emmanuel Macron visited the city of Nice on Monday in what could be considered an unofficial presidential campaign.
Macron was in Nice to discuss safety and security, a topic particularly important for the Mediterranean city. In 2016, an extremist terrorist threw a cargo truck into a packed crowd celebrating Bastille Day. In this attack 86 people were killed and countless were injured. During his visit, Macron met with law enforcement officials and lawmakers to discuss security measures in the city and the country.
“We have invested heavily in our security forces to ensure the safety of our citizens,” Macron told a news conference. “People have the right to live in peace every day, but there is much more to do.”
Macron has not officially confirmed whether he will run for re-election. However, the visit to Nice is being seen as an unofficial confirmation of the race for a second term. Nice is often considered an important city for elections, as they are often conservative and right-wing. The leanness could be crucial for centrist Macron, whose biggest rival for the presidency is Republican Valerie Pecras.
If Macron plans to run for re-election, he is expected to do so soon, as French presidential elections will be held on April 10.
Macron hardly mentioned the current coronavirus growth that has been driven by the fast-spreading Omicron variant. He replaced his mantra of previous months—”vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate”—with a new phrase: “protect, protect, protect.”
By 2025, St. Roch will become a sprawling police station, where more than 2,000 national and municipal officers will work together with state-of-the-art technology, including video surveillance. Work is expected to start next year.
Macron’s push to tackle security issues at the heart of the French conservative political landscape appears as an attempt to counter criticism from the president’s challengers, including the right- and far-right promoting a tighter line on security issues. Contains candidates.
In September, Macron announced measures to make police actions more transparent, including publishing internal investigation reports and creating a parliamentary oversight body, to reduce public confidence in police scandals.
Rights organizations have repeatedly criticized police brutality in France, particularly against members of the country’s racial, ethnic and religious minorities. Like the United States, France has also seen protests over allegations of racism, injustice and impunity when it comes to violence from law enforcement.
Macron said part of the solution is to put more police on the streets and on public transport, especially to tackle violence against women.
Macron vowed to double the number of officers dealing with domestic violence to a total of 4,000, saying, “It is there that women are most vulnerable and we need to do everything we can to protect them.”
He called for more training for French police to deal with victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse and assault, and detailed the enforcement of a controversial law to tackle Islamic fundamentalism.
Despite Macron’s government’s efforts to tackle domestic murders, three women were found dead on New Year’s Day across France, allegedly by their associates.
In the French presidential race, Pecrese, a former minister and a government spokesman, is the first woman to become a Republican nominee for president. Pecrece, known to be pro-European, has toughened her positions on immigration and security in recent months to appeal to more right-wing voters.
Two far-right contenders—National Rally Party chief Marine Le Pen, who lost the 2017 presidency to Macron, and former TV pundit Eric Zemor—have been campaigning on anti-Islamic, anti-migrant topics, accusing Macron. Laying soft on guilt and guilt
On the left, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo of the Socialist Party and European MP of the Greens Yannick Jadot are running, as well as the far-left leader of the rebel France party, Jean-Lou Mélenchon, who is seeking the presidency for a third time.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.