Unrest Continues in France: Looting, Burning Cars, and Calls for Government Action

news 01-Jul-2023 Europe

Renewed Looting and Burning Cars

After the death of a 17-year-old from a police officer's shot, unrest continued in several cities in France for the fourth night. A man died on the sidelines of the protests.

Government Deploys Stronger Measures to Tackle Unrest in France

Following several nights of unrest, the French government is attempting to regain control of the situation with increasingly stringent measures. In order to prevent further violent protests after the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old, 45,000 police officers and gendarmes were mobilized for the night of Saturday. Furthermore, bus and tram services were suspended nationwide in the evening.

More Unrest Despite Government Efforts

Despite these measures, there were further instances of unrest. In the cities of Lyon, Marseille, and Grenoble, roving groups looted shops in the evening. Demonstrators once again set cars and trash cans on fire. In Strasbourg, rioters attacked several shops before nightfall. The shop windows of a fast-food restaurant were smashed in a shopping center in the Paris metropolitan area. Officers prevented individuals from breaking into a vandalized store in the shopping center.

79 Police Officers Injured and Almost 1,000 Arrests

According to the Ministry of Interior, 79 police officers were injured during the unrest, as stated on Twitter in the morning. There were a total of 994 arrests nationwide.

Gun Store Looted

In central Marseille, rioters looted a gun store. While they took several hunting rifles, ammunition was not stolen, according to the police in Marseille. One person was arrested with a rifle that likely originated from the gun store. The store is now being guarded by the police.

Mayor of Marseille Calls for Immediate Reinforcement

The Mayor of Marseille called on the French government to immediately send additional security forces to Marseille. "The scenes of looting and violence are unacceptable," he wrote on Twitter. Images on social media showed an explosion in the old port of Marseille. According to authorities, the cause is still unknown, and there were no injuries reported.

Lyon Reports New Unrest

Unrest was reported once again in Lyon. Fires were set in the suburbs, and police officers were pelted with objects. In the city center, officers arrested 31 individuals to prevent attempted looting of stores. Prior to that, around 1,300 people had gathered on Friday evening for an unauthorized demonstration against police violence.

Gendarmerie's Armored Vehicles

President Emmanuel Macron criticized the "unacceptable exploitation of the death of a young person" during a crisis meeting. Around one-third of those arrested are "young, sometimes very young." Macron appealed to parents to ensure that their children do not participate in violent protests.

President Calls for Responsible Use of Online Networks

The President also called on online networks such as Snapchat or TikTok to exercise "responsible use" regarding the protests. "Violent gatherings" are being organized on these platforms.

Gendarmerie Deploys Armored Vehicles

The gendarmerie deployed armored vehicles during the night to gain control of the situation. Large-scale events were canceled throughout France. By order of the Ministry of Interior, bus and tram services were suspended nationwide from 9 p.m. Additionally, the sale of fireworks, gasoline cans, as well as inflammable and chemical products, was systematically prevented. At least three municipalities near Paris, as well as several other locations, imposed nighttime curfews.

Young Man Dies in Fall from Roof

The French national team called for an end to violence and instead urged for space for "mourning, dialogue, and reconstruction." According to a statement released on various social media platforms by captain Kylian Mbappé, they emphasized the need to find "peaceful and constructive ways" to express oneself.

Nearly 900 Arrested as Unrest Continues in France

During the night leading up to Friday, security forces arrested approximately 900 people during the unrest. Despite the massive police presence, 492 buildings were reportedly attacked, around 2,000 vehicles were set on fire, and dozens of shops were looted.

Young Man Dies in Roof Fall Amid Protests

On the sidelines of the protests during the night leading up to Friday, a young man died after falling from a roof. According to the police and prosecutor's office, the incident occurred in Petit-Quevilly, a town near Rouen in northern France. However, there were conflicting reports regarding the exact circumstances. Initially, representatives from the police and prefecture stated that the accident occurred "in the context of looting" at a supermarket. Later, it was stated that investigations into the circumstances were ongoing.

Unrest Extends to the Caribbean

Unrest has also erupted in French overseas territories in the Caribbean. Authorities reported the most severe violence in French Guiana. There, late on Thursday evening, officials in the capital, Cayenne, came under fire. A stray bullet struck a 54-year-old civil servant who was on his balcony at the time. He died as a result.

Philippe Jos, the official responsible for public security, described the level of violence as difficult to comprehend. Unknown individuals set trash cans on fire and damaged buildings in Cayenne. Thick smoke billowed from some neighborhoods as the police attempted to contain the riots. At least six people were arrested, including five minors. Authorities called for calm while preparing for a possible further night of violence.

The prefect of French Guiana, Thierry Queffelec, announced that shops and public transportation would close earlier on Friday evening. Additionally, there would be a temporary ban on the sale and transportation of gasoline at night. Queffelec stated that 300 additional police officers would be mobilized for the night of Saturday, and drones and helicopters would be deployed. Smaller protests were also reported in Martinique and Guadeloupe, but there were no reports of injuries or fatalities.

Updated Travel Advisories for Travelers

The protests and unrest were triggered by the death of 17-year-old Nahel M. The teenager was fatally shot by a police officer during a traffic stop in the Parisian suburb of Nanterre on Tuesday. According to the mayor of Nanterre, Patrick Jarry, he is scheduled to be buried on Saturday.

An investigation has been launched against the alleged shooter, who has been placed in custody. The prosecutor's office has charged him with "intentional homicide." The use of the weapon during the stop was deemed unjustified by the prosecutor's office. According to the suspect's lawyer, Laurent-Franck Liénard, the detained officer apologized to the victim's family.

Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States have called on citizens planning to travel to France to exercise caution due to the unrest and have updated their travel advisories.

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