France Protest1

600 Arrested, 200 Police Injured on France’s 3rd Night of Protests Over Teen’s Killing

France Protest

Tensions increased overnight in French streets as protesters raised barricades, started fires, and fired fireworks at police.

This was in response to the shocking police shooting death of a 17-year-old. On the third night of disturbances, the authorities battled to restore order, leading to the detention of more than 600 people and the injuries of at least 200 police officers.

In the Nanterre neighbourhood of northwest Paris, where a police officer shot the youngster identified only by his first name, Nahel, armoured police cars ploughed through the burned-out wreckage of automobiles that had been flipped over and set on fire. On the opposite side of Paris, demonstrators set fire to the Clichy-sous-Bois city hall and an Aubervilliers bus depot. Additionally, there were fires and some store raids in the French capital.

Police in Marseille, a port city in the Mediterranean, reportedly tried to disperse violent gangs in the heart of the city.

Friday’s emergency security conference was to be held in Paris after President Emmanuel Macron returned from an EU summit in Brussels, where France plays a significant role in determining European policy.

To put an end to the demonstrations, 40,000 police personnel were brought in. According to the interior minister, 667 people were held by the police, 307 of whom were in the Paris region alone.

A national police official said that 200 police officers were hurt. There was no information on injuries among the general populace.

People set fire to schools, town halls, and police stations, and police used tear gas, water cannons, and dispersal grenades to disperse the rioters, the spokeswoman claimed.

On Friday, Gerald Darmanin, the interior minister, condemned what he called a night of “rare violence.” His office noted that the arrests marked a significant rise over earlier operations as part of a larger government effort to deal with protesters in an “extremely firm” manner.

The government has refrained from proclamating a state of emergency, a step taken to put an end to weeks of riots across France in the wake of the unintentional deaths of two boys running from the police in 2005.

The policeman accused of firing the weapon Prosecutor Pascal Prache announced Tuesday that he had been charged with voluntary homicide after concluding from his preliminary investigation that “the conditions for the legal use of the weapon were not met.” Investigating magistrates who have filed preliminary charges have a high suspicion of misconduct but need to look into the matter further before trying the case.

Speaking on French television network BFMTV, the lawyer for the arrested police officer claimed that the officer was regretful and “devastated.” According to lawyer Laurent-Franck Lienard, the police officer acted as he saw fit at the time.

According to French custom in criminal cases, the officer’s identity has not been disclosed. “He doesn’t get up in the morning to kill people,” Lienard said of the cop. He genuinely had no desire to murder.

The incident, which was caught on camera, stunned France and raised previously dormant tensions between the police and young people living in housing projects and other underprivileged areas.

The teen’s family and solicitors have not claimed that the police shooting was motivated by race, and they have withheld his surname and other personal information.

Nevertheless, anti-racism campaigners continued to criticise the actions of the police.

The leader of the anti-racism organisation SOS Racisme, Dominique Sopo, said, “We have to go beyond saying that things need to calm down.” The question is, “How do we get a police force that doesn’t tend to yell at Blacks and Arabs, use racial slurs against them, and in some cases shoot them in the head?”

Intense arguments, smoke-belching cars, and burning trash cans followed a non-violent march in Nanterre on Thursday afternoon in memory of Nahel.

Throughout the day, tensions increased in several parts of France. A Molotov cocktail was thrown at a police station in the normally quiet Pyrenees town of Pau in southwest France, according to the national police. According to authorities, a tramway train and vehicles were destroyed in a suburb of Lyon and Toulouse, respectively.

As a precaution, bus and tram services in the Paris region were suspended, and numerous tram lines were closed throughout Friday morning rush hour.

Due to the possibility of public disruptions, the 54,000-person town of Clamart in the southwest suburbs of Paris implemented an evening curfew through Monday. The eastern suburbs’ town of Neuilly-sur-Marne received a similar curfew announcement.

Around a dozen people were detained during altercations related to the shooting in France in Brussels, the capital city of Belgium and the centre of the EU. According to police spokeswoman Ilse Van de Keere, many fires were put out.

The Nanterre prosecutor, Prache, claimed that because Nahel appeared so young and was travelling in a bus lane in a Mercedes with Polish licence plates, authorities attempted to stop him. Allegedly, in an effort to avoid being stopped, he ran a red light and then got stranded in traffic.

Both cops said that they pulled their weapons to stop him from escaping. According to Prache, the cop who fired the shot claimed he was concerned about being struck by the car along with a fellow police officer or another person.

The events in the French suburbs brought back memories of the riots that erupted in abandoned housing complexes in 2005 after the deaths of Bouna Traoré, 15, and Zyed Benna, 17, as a result of drug overdoses. After hiding from the police in a power substation in Clichy-sous-Bois, the youngsters were electrocuted.