Conflicts & War

667 arrests in third night of clashes over French teen shot by police

Paris, Jun 30 (EFE).- At least 667 people were arrested in France in a third consecutive night of riots over the police killing of a 17-year-old boy in the Paris suburb of Nanterre, authorities said on Friday.

“Last night, our police, gendarmes and firefighters courageously faced rare violence,” Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said on Twitter.

“In accordance with my firm instructions, they made 667 arrests,” he added.

Darmanin deployed 40,000 officers overnight to contain unrest that erupted after Nahel M, who was driving a rental car in Nanterre without a permit on Tuesday morning, was shot dead during a traffic stop.

According to the ministry, 249 policemen and gendarmes were injured, although none seriously, during the clashes that were largely led by young people aged between 14 and 18.

The epicenter of the protests were in the northwestern suburb of Nanterre, where the teenager was shot.

Protestors took to the streets across several cities in France and set fire to buildings and cars, shot fireworks and erected barricades.

In Nanterre, a bank, several schools and a tax office were scorched, while in the city of Aubervilliers 13 buses from the Paris metropolitan network were damaged by a group of protestors hurling Molotov cocktails.

The vice president of the Ile-de-France region, Frédéric Péchenard, told France Info radio station that the bus and tram service would not be operating Friday from 9:00 pm in response to the violence.

In the capital, looting of shops in the Les Halles neighborhood, in downtown Paris, was also reported.

Several mayors in towns in the Ile-de-France region have decreed curfews that will be in force until the end of the week.

Tensions have also spilled over into Belgium where Brussels police made 64 arrests, 48 of whom were minors, early on on Friday, authorities reported.

President Emmanuel Macron has slated an emergency meeting for 1:00 pm after he returns from Brussels from a European Union Summit, the Élysée confirmed.

On Thursday, Macron called the unrest “unjustifiable” after he held crisis talks at the interior ministry with several members of his cabinet.

Olivier Klein, Minister Delegate for Housing, called on parents for there to be “no boys on the street” on Friday night.

“I call for calm because the Republic needs calm, working-class neighborhoods need this calm. Let’s not take the risk of having another accident,” Klein told France Inter radio.

Klein — who between 2011 and 2022 was mayor of Clichy-sous-Bois, one of the poorest communes on the fringes of Paris and where the 2005 riots started — called the violence “unjustifiable”.

“Yes there is anger, you have to hear it, understand it, but the words of the President of the Republic, of the Prime Minister, of myself towards the family of Nahel are words of justice, justice is on the way,” he added.

The police officer who shot Nahel has spent his first night in the Santé prison in Paris charged with voluntary homicide.

Speaking to France Info radio, the officer’s lawyer, Laurent-Franck Liénard, said he had apologized to Nahel’s family.

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