Protests in France Subside but Unrest Continues Following Teenager Death

news 02-Jul-2023 Europe

Apparently Calmer Than Previous Nights

In France, violence erupted once again over the death of a 17-year-old due to police violence. The house of a mayor was also attacked. According to the Interior Ministry, the situation was calmer than in previous nights.

Last night, there were once again riots in France, but overall the violence apparently decreased. According to preliminary reports, 719 people were arrested, as stated by the Interior Ministry. 45 police officers and gendarmes were injured, and 577 vehicles and 74 buildings were set on fire. A total of 871 fires were reported on the streets. Despite all this, the night was "quieter thanks to the determined actions of the law enforcement agencies," tweeted Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin.

Violence Decreases in France Amid Protests Over Teenager's Death

Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne praised the security forces, stating that they demonstrated exemplary courage in the face of violence, as she wrote on Twitter. 45,000 police officers and thousands of firefighters were deployed to maintain order and protect the public.

However, there were renewed riots, lootings, and vandalism, especially in Paris, Marseille, and Lyon. In a suburb of Paris, protesters rammed a mayor's house with a car. Afterwards, the rioters set fire to the building, according to Vincent Jeanbrun, the mayor of L'Haÿ-les-Roses near Paris, who shared the incident on Twitter. His wife and one of his two children were "injured." He was at the city hall during the incident, which is located south of Paris.

Attacks Continue in France, Including Mayor's House

Jeanbrun called on the government to declare a state of emergency. Although such a personal attack is unusual, several schools, police stations, town halls, and shops have been targeted by vandalism and arson in recent days. On the prestigious Champs-Élysées boulevard in Paris, security forces were heavily present during the night. Small groups of young men dressed in black walked past the stores, which were protected by grates and wooden boards to prevent looting. At around 1:30 a.m., the security forces began to disperse the last remaining groups of protesters, as reported by the AFP news agency. "Le Figaro" reported that the Champs-Élysées was cleared by a large police presence using tear gas.

Government Urged to Declare State of Emergency as Protests Escalate

In Marseille, the police fired tear gas and engaged in street fights with young people in the city center late into the night. The police presence was significantly reinforced there, as well as in Lyon and Grenoble.

Death of 17-Year-Old Triggers Protests in France

The unrest across the country started after the death of 17-year-old Nahel M., who was shot by a police officer during a traffic stop in the Paris suburb of Nanterre on Tuesday. According to the prosecutor's office, the teenager was driving a Mercedes with Polish license plates on a bus lane and ran a red light when the officer and a colleague tried to stop him. The officer justified the shooting by claiming that he feared he, his colleague, or someone else could be run over by the car.

Nahel was buried on Saturday. Hundreds of people gathered at the entrance of the cemetery in Nanterre to bid farewell as the coffin was carried in. The mother of the boy was welcomed with applause by the mourners. In a television interview, she had demanded a severe punishment for the police officer who shot her son. The officer is being investigated for manslaughter.

Macron Cancels State Visit to Germany Due to Unrest

President Emmanuel Macron canceled a planned state visit to Germany due to the unrest. The visit, scheduled from Sunday to Tuesday, will be rescheduled as soon as possible, according to the Federal Presidential Office.

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