Violent Clashes Erupt in Brussels Following French Teenager Death

news 30-Jun-2023 Europe

Macron Calls Emergency Meeting Again

After the third consecutive night of massive riots in France, President Emmanuel Macron and his government plan to hold another emergency meeting. The President left the ongoing EU summit early to attend the crisis meeting at 13:00, as announced on Friday by the Élysée Palace. The security measures implemented so far will be examined "without taboos." The riots in several French cities were triggered by the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old teenager by a police officer.

France Faces Third Night of Severe Riots, Over 660 Arrested

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne did not rule out the possibility of declaring a state of emergency to restore order in France. Several politicians have called for this measure due to the ongoing unrest for the past three nights. Borne shared images on Twitter from a meeting with several ministers to assess the violence and abuses of the night, describing the incidents as "intolerable and inexcusable."

On Thursday, Macron already held a crisis meeting, which resulted in a significant increase in nationwide police deployment. According to the French Ministry of the Interior, approximately 40,000 police officers were deployed last night, including around 5,000 in Paris. Despite the heightened security measures, confrontations with the police occurred in several cities such as Paris, Marseille, Lyon, Toulouse, and Lille during the night of Friday. Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin reported that 249 law enforcement officers were injured, although no serious injuries were sustained.

Darmanin expressed gratitude to all members of the police and gendarmerie who once again confronted the violence "with courage" during the previous night. He had previously announced a "decisive response from the state" to the riots. During the night, 667 individuals were arrested in connection with the clashes, following 150 arrests in the previous night's clashes.

Macron to Attend Crisis Meeting Following Violent Unrest

During the unrest on Friday night, cars were set on fire, and barricades were erected in several cities. Shop windows were smashed in Paris, and according to "Le Monde," several buses were set ablaze in Aubervilliers near the capital, leading to temporary suspension or limited operation of several bus lines. The newspaper also reported that in Grenoble, a bus was targeted with fireworks, leading to transit workers going on strike. In the port city of Marseille, hundreds of protesters clashed with the police, and looting occurred. Tear gas was fired by the police during clashes with young people, as reported by "La Provence."

French Prime Minister Considers Declaring State of Emergency

As reported by "Le Monde," the President of the Île-de-France Regional Council, Valérie Pécresse, announced immediate aid of €20 million to quickly repair the damages in the region, which includes Paris. This aid will cover damaged buildings such as schools or town halls, as well as trams and looted shops.

The situation escalated in Nanterre on Thursday evening, leading to clashes between protesters and the police following a memorial march for the deceased teenager. Around 6,000 people participated in the march, according to the news agency dpa. Protesters threw Molotov cocktails at the police, who monitored the situation with helicopters and deployed special forces.

Confrontations between youths and authorities also occurred in the Belgian capital of Brussels. The police reported the arrest of approximately ten individuals, and several fires were reported.

Clashes with Police Also Erupt in Brussels

According to the police, social media posts by young people called for gatherings in response to the death of the 17-year-old in France. Tensions were particularly high around the centrally located Anneessens neighborhood, as reported by the Belgian news agency Belga.

Three days ago, a 17-year-old of North African descent was fatally shot by a police officer in the Parisian suburb of Nanterre. The incident prompted the initiation of a manslaughter investigation against the officer, who was subsequently taken into custody. The use of the firearm during the inspection was deemed unjustified by the prosecutor's office.

According to the officer's lawyer, while in police custody, the officer apologized to the family. The lawyer stated in an interview with BFM TV that the officer's first words were an apology, and his final words were an apology to the family. The lawyer also mentioned that his client was shocked by the violence depicted in the video when he watched it for the first time in custody. He emphasized that the officer is devastated and does not wake up in the morning to kill people, stating that he never intended to kill anyone. The lawyer announced plans to challenge the officer's detention.

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