Investigation Launched into Death of 27-Year-Old in Marseille Amid Nightly Unrest

news 05-Jul-2023 Europe

Investigation into the Death of a 27-Year-Old in Marseille

In the French port city of Marseille, a man may have died from a rubber bullet fired by the police. President Macron is considering restricting social media due to the unrest.

During nocturnal riots over the weekend in Marseille, a young man may have died from a police gunshot fired with a rubber bullet. The 27-year-old is believed to have died during the night on Sunday, possibly as a result of a "violent blow to the chest" caused by a "rubber bullet projectile," said the prosecutor's office of Marseille, the southern French port city, to the news agency AFP.

According to initial findings, the impact of the projectile led to cardiac arrest. At the time, the area was shaken by "riots and looting," the prosecutor's office further explained. However, it is unclear whether the man had participated in them.

The prosecutor's office has initiated an investigation into the circumstances, and the criminal police and police oversight authority have been involved.

16 Arrests Overnight on Wednesday

The unrest has been diminishing since the weekend. According to the Ministry of the Interior, there were 16 arrests nationwide overnight on Wednesday. As reported by the newspaper "Le Parisien," citing further information from the ministry, 78 cars were set on fire nationwide, and fires were lit in eight buildings. Police stations were spared from attacks by rioters.

Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron is considering blocking social media as a measure against further unrest. He said that one must consider the use of social networks by protesting young people and possible bans, during a meeting with mayors in Paris on Tuesday, as reported by the BFMTV broadcaster. "Because if it becomes an instrument for gatherings or an attempt to kill, it is a real issue," Macron stated.

On Friday, the president had already held social networks responsible for the escalation of violence during protests against police brutality. Violent gatherings had been organized there.

Police Presence to be Maintained

Macron announced that the massive police presence would be maintained initially as a deterrent. If it is not sufficient, the security forces should take an "offensive" approach.

Macron also intends to provide assistance to cities with burned schools and damages to public infrastructure through fast-track procedures. The summer sales have been extended by one week to allow merchants to make up for the lost revenue during the riots.

Border Controls against Fireworks Imports from Belgium

Meanwhile, controls at the border with Belgium in northern France have been strengthened to prevent the importation of fireworks, as reported by the newspaper "Le Parisien" on Tuesday evening, citing the prefecture. The aim is to prevent the troublemakers from stocking up on fireworks.

People with pyrotechnics have already been stopped on both sides of the border. The prefecture in northern France has imposed a ban on the sale and possession of fireworks and gasoline in canisters until mid-July. Since the death of 17-year-old Nahel from a gunshot fired by a police officer during a traffic stop last Tuesday, France has been shaken by severe riots.

There have been repeated incidents of looting, arson attacks, and violent clashes between police officers and rioters. In addition to Paris, the riots in Marseille have been particularly intense. Nationwide, around 1,100 buildings, including many town halls, and over 200 police stations were damaged.

The officer who fired the shot at the teenager is being investigated on suspicion of manslaughter.

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