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‘Where’s Steve?’: French police confirm body pulled from Loire is the missing music fan

French investigators have confirmed the identity of a 24-year-old man whose body was found in a river more than a month after a controversial intervention by riot police at a music festival, a legal source told AFP on Tuesday.

'Where's Steve?': French police confirm body pulled from Loire is the missing music fan
Divers search the Loire river in Nantes for missing Steve Maia Canico. AFP

Steve Canico went missing on the night of June 21-22 after officers moved in to disperse techno music fans in the western city of Nantes, who were attending a free concert as part of France's national music celebration day.

More than a dozen concertgoers fell into the nearby Loire river during the ensuing clashes, prompting accusations of excessive force by police trying to shut the party down.

An autopsy carried out Tuesday morning on the badly decomposed corpse that was found not far from the concert site on Monday confirmed it was Canico, the source said.

Footage shared on social media showed scenes of chaos as police carrying batons moved in on the revellers by the river.

Local authorities said 14 people were subsequently rescued from the water after the clashes, with Canico's friends fearing he was swept away.

Since his disappearance, posters have been put up around Nantes demanding “Where is Steve?”. 

But that question quickly morphed into a slogan for a campaign around the country to highlight police brutality particularly during the recent “yellow vest” protests.

READ ALSO: Why are people cross France demanding to know 'Where's Steve?'

AFP

 

On July 20, hundreds of protesters formed a human chain along the Loire observing a minute of silence for the missing man.

France's National Police Inspectorate – which oversees the work of the police – has launched an investigation into the actions of the police in Nantes.`

There were also questions over why local authorities had allowed the event to go ahead at an insecure riverside venue without a barrier.

French police have come under fire for their heavy-handed techniques, including at a recent peaceful climate rally in Paris and at nationwide weekly protests by anti-government “yellow vest” demonstrators.

One of the main French policing unions Alternative Police, released a statement expressing their condolences to Steve's family, and expressing the wish that an enquiry into police actions looks thoroughly into the circumstances.

The union said: “If the investigation reveals proven mistakes or breaches, it is certain that sanctions will have to be imposed in line with the seriousness of the facts. 

“On the other hand, Alternative Police says it loud and clear: if the investigation exonerates the police intervention then public personalities, politicians, groups and others who have pointed fingers and stigmatised police action, will then have to publicly make their mea culpa and apologise.
 
“The national police know how to assume their responsibilities, but their honour must also be restored when they have been unjustly criticised.”
 

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LANGUAGE AND CULTURE

Snobs, beaches and drunks – 5 things this joke map teaches us about France

A popular joke 'map' of France has once again been widely shared on social media, sparking endless jokes at the expense of certain regions of France.

Snobs, beaches and drunks - 5 things this joke map teaches us about France
Image AFP/cartesfrance.fr
But while the map – created by cartesfrance.fr – is clearly intended to be comic, it teaches us some important points about France’s regional divides, local stereotypes and in-jokes.
 

 
 
 
Here are some of the key points.
 
1. Everyone hates Parisians
 
The map is purportedly France as seen through the eyes of Parisians, and contains a series of snobbish and rude generalisations about every part of France that is not maison (home) in the capital and its surroundings. The great majority of the country is labelled simply as paysans (peasants).
 
The general stereotype about Parisians is that they are snobs, rudely judging the rest of the country which they regard as backwards and full of ploucs (yokels) apart from small areas which make nice holiday destinations.
 
Like all sweeping generalisations, this is true of some people and very much not of others, but one of the few things that can unite people from all areas of France is how much they hate les parigots têtes de veaux (a colloquialism that very roughly translates as ‘asshole Parisians’)
 
 
2. Staycations rule
 
Even before Covid-related travel restrictions, holidaying within France was the norm for many French people.
 
As the map shows, Parisians regard the southern and western coastlines as simply plages (beaches) which they decamp to for at least a month in July or August. In the height of summer French cities tend to empty out (apart from tourists) as locals head to the seaside or the countryside.
 
 
In winter the Pyrenees and Alps are popular ski destinations.
 
3. Northerners like a drink
 
There is a very widespread stereotype, although not really backed up by evidence, that the people of Normandy, Brittany and the Nord area like a drink or two. Many suggest this is to cope with the weather, which does tend to be rainier than the rest of France (although has plenty of sunshine too).
 
 
Official health data doesn’t really back this up, as none of these areas show a significantly greater than average rate of daily drinkers, although Nord does hold the sad record for the highest rate of people dying from alcohol-related liver disease.
 
What’s certainly true is that Brittany and Normandy are cider country, with delicious locally-produced ciders on sale everywhere, well worth a try if you are visiting.
 
 
4. Poverty
 
The map labels the north eastern corner of France as simply pauvres – the poor.
 
The north east of the country was once France’s industrial and coal-mining heartland, and as traditional industries have declined there are indeed pockets of extreme poverty and high unemployment. The novel The End of Eddy, telling the story of novelist Edouard Louis’ childhood in a struggling small town near Amiens, lays out the social problems of such areas in stark detail.
 
However poverty is not just confined to one corner of France and the département that records the highest levels of deprivation is actually Seine-Saint-Denis in the Paris suburbs.
 
5. Southern prejudice
 
According to the map, those from the south are either branleurs (slackers) or menteurs (liars). 
 
This isn’t true, obviously, there are many lovely, hard-working and truthful people in southern France, but the persistent stereotype is that they are lazy – maybe because it’s too hot to do much work – and slightly shifty.
 
Even people who aren’t actually rude about southerners can be pretty patronising, as shown when south west native Jean Castex became the prime minister in summer 2020. 
 
Castex has a noticeable south west accent which sparked much comment from the Paris-based media and political classes, with comments ranging from the patronising – “I love his accent, I feel like I’m on holiday” – to the very patronising – “that accent is a bit rugby” (a reference to the fact that TV rugby commentators often come from France’s rugby heartlands in the south west).
 
 
In his first year as PM, Castex has undertaken a dizzying schedule of appointments around the four corners of France, so hopefully the lazy myth can now be put to bed.
 
And anyone tempted to take the piss out of his accent – glottophobie (accent prejudice) is now a crime in France.
 
For more maps that reflect France, head to cartesfrance.fr
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