FRANCE: At least 150 individuals have been detained in the wake of violent demonstrations against the French police. Over the course of a second consecutive night, rioting and arson attacks targeted various buildings, including town halls and schools, resulting in substantial damage to these structures as well as police stations.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin characterized the events as “a night of unbearable violence against symbols of the republic.” In response to the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Nahel M., an additional 2000 police officers were deployed to the streets.
The incident in question involved a traffic police officer firing a bullet at Nahel, who tragically lost his life while driving a Mercedes AMG. The 38-year-old officer responsible for the shooting is currently in custody and facing accusations of murder.
Despite this tragic event, the unrest in France persisted, with areas like Lille and Toulouse experiencing further acts of vandalism and violence. The use of Molotov cocktails and fireworks rockets played a significant role in fueling the fires.
In one instance, a mob in northern Paris reacted by pelting police officers with bottles while the authorities used flash-balls to disperse protestors who were setting trash ablaze. This confrontation resulted in smashed windows at a police station and the torching of police vehicles. Disturbing videos circulating online showed the destruction of police station windows followed by the ignition of numerous cars.
The entrance to Fresnes Prison was subjected to arson. President Emmanuel Macron appealed for calm, condemning the loss of a young life as an unjust and inexcusable tragedy. Nahel’s mother, who experienced the heartbreaking loss of her 17-year-old son while alone with him, expressed her grief.
Meanwhile, Nahel’s grandmother, who is anonymous and critical of the government, expressed her discontent with the actions of the police. The family of Nahel is calling for the police officer to be charged with murder rather than manslaughter.
Activists across France are demanding action against police brutality in areas with low socioeconomic status. The government has denounced the incident, seeking to distance itself from the behavior of the officer involved.
President Macron has emphasized the importance of ensuring justice in cases of police misconduct. In remembrance of the shooting location, bouquets of orange and yellow flowers have been placed on Nelson Mandela Square in Nanterre. Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne stated that the distressing images demonstrate an intervention that does not align with the engagement rules of the police forces.