The continuous violence in France was denounced by French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday as an “unacceptable situation” after a third consecutive night of nationwide protests over the police shooting death of a teenager saw cars set on fire, stores trashed, and hundreds of people arrested.
After a crisis conference of ministers, Macron stated in a public speech that “a third of those arrested last night are young, even very young.”
Macron added, stopping short of announcing a state of emergency, “Nothing justifies violence.” “We all regret the unacceptable instrumentalization of the death of a teenager at a time when reflection and respect are called for.”
Following a march on Thursday in honor of the 17-year-old, who is only being named by his first name, Nahel, at least 875 individuals were detained overnight on Thursday into Friday, according to the French Interior Ministry. His passing has rekindled long-standing complaints in the low-income, multiethnic suburbs of France about policing and racial profiling.
Gerald Darmanin, France’s interior minister, described Thursday night as one of “rare violence,” and the ministry said that 249 police and gendarmes were hurt, but none critically.
Around 40,000 police and gendarmes, as well as special Raid and GIGN units, were stationed in many towns; curfews were implemented in the Paris region; and public gathering prohibitions were implemented in the northern cities of Lille and Tourcoing.
Violence and property damage were recorded despite the extensive security measures. Instead of violent clashes between protestors and law officials, according to police sources, Thursday’s turmoil was characterized by the looting of stores, including allegedly the Nike and Zara flagship stores in Paris.
According to local authorities, public buildings were also targeted, with a police station in the Pyrenean city of Pau being attacked with a Molotov cocktail and an elementary school and a district office being set on fire in Lille.
The Elysee said that Macron would cancel his trip to Brussels, where he was attending a summit of the European Union, in order to preside over another emergency meeting on the violence.
“The police are not to blame.” I take responsibility for just one individual.
Since Nahel was shot dead in the head on Tuesday while a traffic stop was being recorded on video, France has been shaken by protests on successive nights.
Mounia, Nahel’s mother, said to the France 5 channel in her first interview with the media since the shooting: “I don’t blame the cops. I hold only one person accountable: my son’s killer.
She claimed the culpable 38-year-old officer “saw an Arab face, a little kid, and wanted to take his life.” The officer was detained and given a preliminary charge of voluntary manslaughter on Thursday.
The officer’s name was withheld, as is customary in criminal proceedings in France.
In the western Paris suburb of Nanterre, where the adolescent resided and was killed, several cars were set on fire as the Mounia-led memorial march for Nahel came to a close. Riot police then fired tear gas into the area.
According to the president of the region, after 9:00 p.m. local time on Thursday, bus and tram services in Paris were suspended as part of efforts to regain calm.
However, the precautions and increased security didn’t seem to have much of an impact on Thursday night’s tumult.
Local authorities claim that a library in Marseille’s city center was destroyed. Scuffles then broke out when police deployed tear gas to disperse a crowd of 100 to 150 individuals who were allegedly attempting to build barricades.
According to a police source, Seine-Saint-Denis in the Paris metro area also saw multiple public facilities targeted.
According to a police source, rioters forced open a shopping center’s entrance in the Drancy area using a truck, which was then partially looted and set on fire.
Meanwhile, firefighters in the northern town of Roubaix raced from fire to fire throughout the night. One of the fires involved a hotel close to the train station, which caused its dozen or so occupants to evacuate onto the streets.
According to an AFP journalist, tensions in Nanterre, the scene of the turmoil, increased about midnight when fireworks and explosives were set off in the Pablo Picasso neighborhood, where Nahel had lived.
The administration is desperately trying to prevent another outbreak of the urban riots that broke out in 2005 after two African-American boys died following a police chase and 6,000 others were detained.
Macron urged restraint and deemed the violence during the protests “unjustifiable.”
The riots provide a brand-new obstacle for the president, who had hoped to get over some of the largest protests in a generation that had been spurred by a contentious increase in the country’s retirement age.
He doesn’t wake up in the morning intending to murder people.
Nahel was slain while he resisted being stopped by the police for a traffic offense.
Two police officers were seen standing by the side of the stopped automobile in a video that was verified by AFP, one of whom was brandishing a weapon at the driver.
The words “You are going to get a bullet in the head” can be heard.
The automobile then abruptly takes off as the police officer appears to fire.
As soon as the footage surfaced, fights broke out, refuting police claims that the boy was ramming the officer with his car.
Laurent-Franck Lienard, the officer’s attorney, told BFMTV late on Thursday that his client had expressed regret before being brought into custody.
“The first words he pronounced were to say sorry, and the last words he said were to say sorry to the family,” Lienard remarked.
According to The Associated Press, the lawyer claimed his client was “devastated” and apologetic but did what he felt was necessary at the time. He doesn’t wake up in the morning intending to murder people. He genuinely wanted to avoid murder.
Public prosecutor Pascal Prache of Nanterre had earlier on Thursday stated, “The prosecution considers that the legal conditions for the use of the weapon” by the police officer who fired the shot “are not met.”
The protests, according to a spokesperson for the UN human rights office, Ravina Shamdasani, were “a moment for the country to seriously address the deep issues of racism and discrimination in law enforcement.”
Shamdasani added, “We also emphasize the value of peaceful assembly.” Any claims of excessive use of force must be promptly looked into.”
Nahel’s funeral was slated to take place on Saturday, according to CBS News partner network BBC News.