French PM seeks 'jolt of authority' in bid to tame violent teenagers

French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal has called attention to youth violence on his 100th day in office, laying plans for a “jolt of authority” in the face of what he says is increasing disregard by teenagers.

Attal marked his 100th day as PM with a speech in Viry-Châtillon, the southern Paris suburb where a 15-year-old boy was beaten to death two weeks ago outside his middle school.

It was the latest in a series of attacks on schoolchildren by their peers.

“What is needed is a jolt of authority. We are ready to give it,” Attal said, accompanied by Education Minister Nicole Belloubet and Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti.

Common rules were too often defied by a minority of adolescents, Attal added as he repeated a phrase he's used before: “You break it, you fix it; you make a mess, you clean it up; you defy authority, we teach you to respect it.”

The 35-year-old said there were twice as many teens involved in assault cases, four times more in drug trafficking, and seven times more in armed robberies than in the general population.

He also noted increased Islamist influences.

Attal called on France to mobilise on the issue, confirming there would be an eight-week public consultation to come up with concrete measures – an answer to President Emmanuel Macron’s call for a consultation on the “surge of ultraviolence” among young people.

Flexing on security

(with newswires)

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