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Friday, June 14, 2024

France. 17-year-old Nahel shot dead by a policeman. Riots across the country

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A silent march in Nanterre, France, after the shooting of 17-year-old Nahel by a police officer, turned into violent riots that lasted all night in many parts of the country. The rioters burned cars, destroyed buildings, looted shops and set fire to police stations and schools. Clashes between demonstrators and police have been going on for three days. More than 400 people have been arrested across the country. The police officer who fired the killing shot at the teen has apologized to the victim’s family.

In Nanterre, a silent march was organized on Thursday in protest after the shooting of teenage Nahel M by a policeman on Tuesday. Among the several thousand participants were the boy’s mother and his friends. The march was peaceful at first, but it took some time. A few hours after its start in many cities France violent riots broke out.

READ MORE: The march turned into clashes with the police. They put in a curfew

A white protest march in France after the shooting of a 17-year-old by a policemanPAP/EPA/YOAN VALAT

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Riots across France

Forty thousand police officers were deployed across the country on Thursday – almost four times the number on Wednesday – and authorities called for a de-escalation of violence. Despite countermeasures, the riots could not be stopped. Major clashes with the police took place in Trappes, Garges-les-Gonesse, Bobigny, Nice, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Montpellier, Rennes, Nancy, Lille, Strasbourg, Lyon and Paris.

IN Nanterre, a working-class town on the western outskirts of Paris where 17-year-old Nahel was shot to death on Tuesday, protesters set fire to cars, barricaded streets and threw stones at police officers. Signs “revenge for Nahel” appeared on the buildings. During the night, demonstrators set fire to a bank and an elite police unit sent an armored vehicle onto the streets, reports the BBC.

Riots in Paris after 17-year-old Nahel M.PAP/EPA/JULIEN MATTIA

In the center of Paris A Nike shoe store was broken into. 14 people were detained in connection with this incident. Around 100 people looted the Chatelet-les-Halles shopping center and a Five Guys restaurant was vandalized. The crowd, barely dispersed by the police, moved to the commercial rue de Rivoli, where it invaded the Zara store. The prefecture of Paris said there that about fifteen people were arrested with “bags and stolen objects”.

IN Marseille, France’s second largest city, police clashed with teenage protesters in the popular tourist spot of Le Vieux Port. The officers used tear gas grenades, local newspaper La Provence reported. In the city, several hundred people looted shops and started fires. The “mobile gangs” roamed the Old Port and the La Canebiere district, destroying shop windows, restaurant terraces and setting fire to the Alcázar municipal library.

Riots in Paris after 17-year-old Nahel M.PAP/EPA/JULIEN MATTIA

IN Toulouse and Lille vehicles were set on fire, forcing the police to use tear gas. IN Lyon and the region, two buses were set on fire and street barricades erected. The company Sport 2000 in Rouen was looted, as well as a hair salon in Val-d’Oise.

IN Rennes demonstrators took over a construction crane and used it to destroy street lamps. In Villeurbanne, tram passengers had to evacuate following an accident caused by protesters. In Drancy, rioters used a truck to force the entrance to a shopping center which was partially looted and burned.

IN Nantes a vehicle was used as a battering ram to destroy a Lidl store. A person was even filmed parading down the street with a chainsaw in his hand.

Riots in Paris after 17-year-old Nahel M.PAP/EPA/JULIEN MATTIA

IN Clermont-Ferrand a rain of fireworks from mortars rained down on the police, as in Strasbourgwhere two schools were set on fire. In Seine-Saint-Denis near Paris, riots broke out in almost all communes. Supermarkets in Montreuil and Epinay-sur-Seine were looted. Thirteen buses from the RATP depot were set on fire in Aubervilliers. Police stations were attacked, street cameras destroyed, the media library in Rillieux-la-Pape, the town hall in Clichy-sous-Bois set on fire. In Val-de-Marne, a group of several hundred people attacked a courthouse. About 60 people vandalized several businesses in a shopping center in Beauvais, including a post office, a café, a hairdresser and the antenna of the Oise municipal police, the daily Le Parisien reported.

Riots in Paris after 17-year-old Nahel M.PAP/EPA/JULIEN MATTIA

The smell of burning could be felt in many towns near Paris, from Colombes to Gennevilliers through Asnieres. In several towns, primary and secondary schools were set on fire. Le Monde reported that several streets were severely damaged, particularly in the northwestern suburbs of Nanterre. The riots in the French capital continued overnight despite the introduction of a curfew in some districts, which lasted until Friday morning.

Over 400 arrested

As reported by the French Interior Ministry, 421 people had been arrested across the country by 4 a.m., including 242 in the Paris region. Most of the detainees are between 14 and 18 years old, the daily Le Figaro reported. This balance is likely to increase during the day on Friday.

“The situation was even worse than last night,” an experienced police officer told French media, pointing out that the violence did not start after midnight, as it happened on Tuesday night, but from the end of the afternoon, on the margins of the white march dedicated to the memory of the 17-year-old Nahel.

Two Le Figaro journalists were attacked while doing their job: one was beaten and robbed in Nanterre, which has become an epicenter of violence, and the other was robbed in the Paris area while trying to photograph the nightly riots. The media also report attacks on journalists from other editorial offices.

Death of 17-year-old Nahel. The policeman apologizes

17-year-old Nahel M. was shot dead on Tuesday morning when the police stopped him for breaking traffic rules. As the teenager tried to drive away and flee, one of the officers fired at close range through the driver’s window. Nahel was killed by a single shot in the left arm and chest, Nanterre prosecutor Pascal Prache said. A police officer is in custody, he is suspected of murder.

According to the police version presented at the beginning, the officer used the gun because the teenager wanted to run him over. According to AFP, however, the recordings of the event contradict this. The lawyer of the family of the deceased announced that he would file an additional complaint against the officers, accusing them of giving false testimony about the course of the event. The French agency AFP, citing the prosecutor’s office, said that the use of firearms by a police officer against the teenager was unjustified.

The officer confessed to firing the fatal shot, explaining to investigators that he wanted to prevent the car chase for fear that he or someone else would be injured because the teen had previously committed several traffic offenses, prosecutor Prache said.

The lawyer for the detained police officer said his client had asked the victim’s family for forgiveness. He added that the officer aimed at the driver’s leg but was hit, the bullet entering the chest. “(Nahel) had to be detained, but it seems the officer didn’t want to kill him,” the lawyer explained. He added that the detention of his client was used as an attempt to calm the riots.

Nahel was known to the police, the teenager had previously disobeyed traffic stop orders, prosecutor Nanterre said.

Main photo source: PAP/EPA/JULIEN MATTIA

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