Riots Hit France

France RIot

Riots sparked by the death of a teenager in a police shooting continued into the early hours on Thursday. More than 70 people have been detained in Paris suburbs. The riots spread to major French cities.

Media reports said:

Protests broke out in the Paris suburb of Nanterre on Tuesday, but have since spread to other major cities, including Toulouse, Lille, Lyon, and Nice.

Rioters bombarded police with fireworks, set garbage containers on fire, and torched several cars.

Local journalists said that Molotov cocktails and stones were thrown at police vans.

Le Figaro reported that “a few dozen” people launched fireworks at a prison in Fresnes, a southern suburb of Paris, and attempted to break into the building before being driven away by police.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said on Wednesday evening that 2,000 officers and gendarmes were put on alert in the greater Paris area, 800 more than the night before, according to French media. Police also received an emergency authorization to use surveillance drones in Nanterre.

A total of 77 arrests were made, police said in the early hours of Thursday, as quoted by AFP. More than 30 people were previously detained in the night between Tuesday and Wednesday, including many in the Hauts-de-Seine department, where Nanterre is based.

The riots erupted after a 17-year-old, later identified as Nahel M., was fatally shot by a police officer during a traffic stop. Police said at the time that Nahel had failed to comply with the officer’s demands.

The young man’s mother Mounia posted a video on TikTok calling for “a revolt” to get justice for the death of her son.

President Emmanuel Macron condemned Nahel’s death. Macron expressed sympathies and condolences during a visit to Marseilles on Wednesday.

He instructed Minister for Cities and Housing Olivier Klein to deliver the government’s condolences to the slain teenager’s family.

On Twitter, Macron urged the public to stay calm and thanked police officers who “are committed to protecting us and serving the republic.”

Opposition leader Marine Le Pen called Macron’s remarks “excessive” and “irresponsible” It is up to the courts to decide what happened, said Le Pen, arguing that the president should not prejudice the investigation.

The officer who fired the fatal shot has been placed under arrest and charged with intentional homicide. Lawyers for Nahel’s mother have sought a change of venue, arguing that Nanterre prosecutors cannot be impartial because the suspect is one of their police officers.

An earlier report said:

The unrest broke out after an officer killed a 17-year-old man during a traffic stop.

The altercation occurred on Tuesday morning. According to police, the young man was shot after failing to comply with an order and attempting to ram an officer with his car.

A video filmed by a witness shows that two officers had stopped a yellow Mercedes AMG. While one officer was standing outside the window and giving orders to the driver, his colleague stood next to him and was pointing a handgun at the driver.

The car suddenly moved forward, prompting the officer to fire a single shot. The Mercedes crashed into a pole and the driver died, despite efforts to resuscitate him.

The prosecutor’s office said the driver was known for having previously refused to comply with a police order during a traffic stop.

Hours after the incident, around 50 people held a protest outside Nanterre police station, BFM TV reported. In other parts of the neighborhood, rioters smashed bus stops, set garbage containers on fire, and torched several vehicles.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said an investigation had been launched into the shooting. A separate investigation has been launched on suspicion of attempting to cause harm to a police officer.


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