NOn the eve of the first round of the French legislative elections – which, according to polls, should be won by the National Union (Rassemblement National, in French) – several hundred people joined today in a silent march in tribute to Nahel Merzouk who, aged 17 and of Algerian origin, was shot dead by police during a ‘stop’ operation in Nanterre, on June 27, 2023.

At a time when young people from popular neighborhoods are seen as crucial for the New Popular Front – a left-wing coalition that brings together socialists, ecologists, communists and Unsubmissive France – to have a good electoral result and prevent the growth of the extreme right, the appeal Don’t forget to go to the polls this Sunday was present at this march, in a subtle way as it was a day of reflection in France.

“The future belongs to you, it’s in your hands. You have to wake up: you know perfectly well what will happen tomorrow. So wake up: we have to avoid more deaths”, said Nahel’s mother into the microphone, at the end of the march.

All the young people Lusa spoke to indicated that they will vote in the legislative elections, rejecting the idea that they are alienated from political life or that they are unaware of the danger that the extreme right represents, despite admitting that they know anyone who is thinking about staying in House.

“I’m not part of those who think it’s not worth going to vote because, anyway, the National Union will win. For us, the National Union is a mortal danger, it’s a question of survival”, he told Lusa Bouma, who considers that the discourse according to which people in the suburbs are not politically active is “propaganda” and calls for voting for the left.

“Many decided to stop looking at politics because there was a campaign of repression, but, even so, we know that working-class neighborhoods are very politically active: there is an attempt to make them invisible, but you only have to look at the participation rates in the European elections,” he said.

In these elections, 48.49% of voters in Nanterre went to the polls – slightly below the national participation rate, which was 51.49% -, giving victory to Unsubmissive France, with 36.96% of the votes.

Sirinne told Lusa that the problem is not “that young people from working-class neighborhoods don’t want to go and vote, it’s that no one simply makes them want to go and vote”, stating that she understands those who refuse to go to the polls.

“Most of my friends don’t feel represented and François Hollande [último Presidente da República socialista, entre 2012 e 2017] has a great responsibility in this. If you want young people to vote, give them the will and, for that, you need to change the entire system”, he says.

Myriam is one of the young people Lusa spoke to who, despite saying she will vote this Sunday, says she completely understands those who choose to stay at home, because she herself does not believe in politicians.

“For many years, young people have been voting and nothing has changed, often what changes is only for the worse. I completely understand people who no longer believe, who feel helpless and who, quite simply, do not feel represented,” he said.

As a way of countering this feeling, Noredine, an Insubmissive France activist in Nanterre, took to a megaphone during the march to insist that young people must vote this Sunday, despite stressing to Lusa that he is convinced that the majority will do so. it.

“We have been raising awareness for several weeks now and they responded well during the European elections and will respond well tomorrow [domingo]. The saying that they don’t give a damn is a lie: the truth is that they just don’t want them to be interested,” she said.

Mahmoud, 16, tells Lusa that, if he were old enough to vote, tomorrow he would cast his ballot with the New Popular Front and calls on everyone to do the same.

“Only if people go to vote do things have any chance of changing”says the young man, almost the same age as Nahel, who died a year ago on these same streets.

Read Also: Elections in France. Voting in some overseas territories has already started


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