France protests. 2023. Social Media / WANA News Agency

The international response to French protests vs protests in Iran

WANA (Mar 28) – Tensions are high in France as protests against Emmanuel Macron’s pension plan continues across the country. On Wednesday, Macron said that the legislation would come into force by year-end despite the escalating violence. The legislation raises the retirement age by two years to 64. Months of protests however, had no effect on the government’s actions.


“The government does not care what the people say, does not care about protests that last Thursday brought together two million people in the streets, it is so shameful. So this government has become authoritarian and it does not listen to the voice of the people when it is said that 80 percent of the population today rejects this pension reform,” said Eleonore Schmitt, a French activist.

The government’s use of the constitutional tool known as the 49:3 to push the legislation through without a final vote in the Assemblée nationale, where it has no majority since last year’s general election, has broadened and deepened public anger, bringing many young people on to the streets.


Meanwhile, reports and images of police brutality have been circulating around social media with rights groups slamming the disproportionate use of public force. Apart from the brutality, reports of racism against protesters are also emerging, with many foreign nationals detained by the French police.

France protests. 2023. Social Media / WANA News Agency

France protests. 2023. Social Media / WANA News Agency

Security officials have defended their actions, saying they are responding to violent rioters and “anarchist” groups which frequently infiltrate French demonstrations to provoke clashes. The president also hailed police response to the protests.


Having seen the anti-government protests in Iran recently and the International response and “solidarity” with Iranian protesters, the lack thereof for French demonstrators is quite noticeable.


Describing protesters as “anarchists” and “rioters” is something common in mainstream media, all following specific literary patterns in presenting the happenings in France. The striking difference however, is the outpour of official statements by western governments accusing Iran of Human rights violations against “peaceful protesters” while there have been none targeting Paris.



The so-called protesters that set fire to public property and brutally killed security forces in Tehran. But apparently when such things happen in a European country any use of force and brutality is justified and even hailed, because maintaining public safety makes sense in France but not in Iran.


Double standards have always been practiced by the U.S. and its European allies, human rights are not a matter of concern when responding to unrest in their countries. But a country like the Islamic Republic is hammered by western media and government officials for giving the same response.

France protests. 2023. Social Media / WANA News Agency

France protests. 2023. Social Media / WANA News Agency

France, as one of the main allies of the U.S. and a strong advocate of neo-colonialism is defended by mainstream media for its violent suppression of anti-government protests while a fraction of this behavior from a country not agreeable to the west gives the green light to be hit with a stream of sanctions and condemnations.


Another striking contrast in international reaction towards these demonstrations is the attention given to women’s rights.


Franck Riester, the parliamentary relations minister, admitted the reform would penalize women “a little”.


This legislation will see women working longer than their male colleagues for pensions around 40-percent lower than men. But no statements are given in solidarity with French women, no hashtags are trending on social media to support them and no international entity is condemning the French government.

France protests. 2023. Social Media / WANA News Agency

France protests. 2023. Social Media / WANA News Agency

The Islamic republic of course has not been idle during this time. The country’s foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kan’ani, has published a series of witty posts on twitter reacting to the French protests.


“They that sow the wind shall reap the whirlwind,” the senior Iranian diplomat continued that while Tehran does not support destruction and chaos; it declares that French officials should rather yield to their people’s demands and avoid violence against them than to provoke chaos in other countries.

“French protesters are also waiting to see the collective video clip of European, Australian and Canadian female ministers in support of French protesting women,” the spokesman pointed out, referring to the video clips made in “solidarity” with Iranian women.



While the protests in Iran were stoked by foreign media with an endless number of bots at work to make it look big, France is currently experiencing a nation’s true anger towards its government without any outside incitement. French authorities are not giving in however and capitalism will most likely win this fight.


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