• France's news in English
'Trumpified' Sarkozy lays siege to Hollande after Nice
Prime Minister Manuel Valls was booed on Monday in Nice. Photo: AFP

'Trumpified' Sarkozy lays siege to Hollande after Nice

AFP · 18 Jul 2016, 18:00

Published: 18 Jul 2016 18:00 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit
Valls and two ministers attending a ceremony of remembrance endured a humiliating chorus of boos, along with shouts of "Murderers!" and "Resign!"
The anger is reflected in France's politics, where the opposition – which once united with the government in past outrages – has gone on the attack as presidential and legislative elections loom.
After the third major attack in 18 months former president Nicolas Sarkozy, who is eyeing another run for the top job in 2017, did not hold back.
The leader of the centre-right Republicans party accused President Francois Hollande – nicknamed "Flanby" by detractors after a brand of wobbly custard – of "trembling" in the face of the jihadist threat.
"Everything that should have been done the past 18 months was not done," Sarkozy said in an interview with TF1 television on Sunday.
"France cannot let its children be murdered," he said, declaring the country to be in an "outright war."
"It will be us or them," he added, calling for all foreign-born terror suspects to be deported.
Usually more measured, Sarkozy's rival for the presidential nomination of the centre-right Republicans party, Alain Juppé, also wasted no time in accusing the Socialist government of being lax on safety.
Within hours of Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, a 31-year-old Tunisian national, ploughing his truck into a crowd of people leaving a fireworks display, killing 84, Juppe declared it "would not have happened" if security had been tighter.
In the far-right camp, National Front leader Marine Le Pen accused successive governments of the left and right of "grave mistakes" for "continuing to allow so many foreigners into France".
IN PICS: Thousands gather in Nice for minute's silence
Unity no more 
The contrast with the shows of unity that prevailed following the two previous attacks was strident.
After jihadists struck Paris in January 2015 politicians marched shoulder to shoulder in solidarity, behind Hollande and a host of world leaders.
Following the devastating attacks 10 months later on the national stadium and Paris nightspots they again stood together, for a moving rendition of the national anthem in parliament.
But with the country preparing for presidential elections in April and May, followed by legislative elections in June, the political mood has become more poisonous.
The government was already thrust onto the defensive on July 5, when a parliamentary inquiry concluded that the 2015 attacks represented a "global intelligence failure."
Hollande's abysmal approval ratings briefly rallied after the previous attacks.
But an Ifop poll in Le Figaro daily on Monday showed only 33 per cent of the people trusting him to protect them this time round.
"His humanity, his quick reaction, his authority were praised in January and November. Now, he has no more cards to play," Frederic Dabi of Ifop pollsters told Le Figaro newspaper.
Cazeneuve has rejected any suggestion of intelligence failings in the case of the Nice attacker, noting he had no known links to jihadist networks and appeared to have been radicalised very recently.
Security analysts also note how hard it would have been to have stop a "lone wolf" attack with a low threshold of technology.
Bouhlel's deadly weapon was not a bomb or a machinegun but a truck – an arm that could be used by any would-be assailant with the appropriate license.
Story continues below…
France falls silent for victims of Nice truck carnage
Faced with such problems, Valls has sought to steel the French for further such attacks, warning: "Terrorism will be part of everyday life for a long time to come".
He has also appealed for unity and dismissed the "disgraceful" boos in Nice as the "attitude of a minority".
"The 'Trumpification' of the mind cannot be our response to Isis," he said referring to anti-migrant discourse of US Republican White House hopeful Donald Trump.
But the calls fell on deaf ears in Nice, with mourners in the Republicans-run city issuing calls for both Valls and Hollande to resign.
Political analyst Stephane Rozes pinned the hostility in Nice on the "demagoguery" of a camp within the main opposition party "that led people to believe that you can avoid such terrorist acts".
"Most French people understand all too well that you cannot stop a man climbing into a truck and ploughing into a crowd," he said.
Those in the opposition who claimed otherwise "are playing into the hands of the FN and digging their own graves because people prefer the original to the imitation."
Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

UK border must move back, says 'next French president'
Photo: AFP

If favourite Alain Juppé is elected, Britain and France are in for some difficult negotiations.

Homeless man does a runner from France's top restaurants
Photo: Prayitno/Flickr

"A man's gotta eat," he told police, after racking up gigantic bills in some of France's plushest restaurants.

Underwater museum hopes to make a splash in Marseille
A similar underwater museum piece by Jason deCaires Taylor. Photo: julie rohloff/Flickr

Don't forget your scuba gear...

Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Photo: Jacme/Flickr

Move over Paris...

And France's top chef of the year is... 'Monsieur Idiot'
Alexandre Couillon might have an unfortunate name, but he can sure cook!. Photo: AFP

Look beyond the name. He's the man who turned his family's humble "moules frites" joint into one of France's best seafood restaurants.

Could France do more to ease the worries of 'Brexpats'?
Photo: AFP

Paris is rolling out the red tape for British firms, so why not British citizens in France?

Brexit: Brits in France could face 'cataclysmic' impact
Photo: AFP

Can't France make it easier for Britons to get French nationality?

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
Want to drive a scooter around Paris? Here's what you need to know
jobs available