Conflicts & War

Clashes break out after vigil for French teen shot by police

(Update 2: Changes headline, lede, adds detail throughout)

Paris, Jun 29 (EFE).- French police clashed with demonstrators in Paris on Thursday after a march to pay tribute to 17-year-old Nahel M, who was fatally shot by an officer during a traffic stop this week.

Clashes broke out after the vigil in Nanterre, the Paris suburb where the teenager was shot on Tuesday morning.

Riot police fired tear gas and charged at the crowd when some demonstrators tried to jump over barriers set up around the local government offices.

A spokesperson for the interior ministry said that the march had started peacefully but after an hour vehicles, rubbish containers and other street installations had been set on fire as the clashes broke out.

Authorities said 6,200 people took part in the rally, which had been called by Nahel’s mother, who was carrying a banner with the slogan: “The police kill” and wearing a shirt that read “Justice for Nahel!”.

The crowd chanted slogans such as “murderous police” and called for the resignation of interior minister Gerald Darmanin.

Bus and tram services in the Paris region were due to be suspended from 9pm Thursday night, local media reported.

Earlier on Thursday, the government had announced that it would deploy 40,000 officers to contain the unrest.

Darmanin appealed for calm Thursday morning after a second night of violence across France following the death of Nahel M, who was driving a rental car in Nanterre without a permit when he was shot.

At least 150 people were arrested on Wednesday night, when 90 public buildings (including town halls, schools, police stations and courts) were attacked by rioters.

Following the first night of rioting, French President Emmanuel Macron and several members of his cabinet appealed for calm and expressed solidarity with Nahel’s family, calling his death “inexplicable and inexcusable.”

But Macron criticized rioters following Wednesday night’s violence, calling the unrest “unjustifiable”.

Footage of Tuesday’s incident that has been circulating on social media shows Nahel M’s car being stopped by a pair of officers, one of whom can be seen pointing his gun at the driver through the window while the other officer speaks to him.

A shot can be heard as the car starts to accelerate before crashing to a halt.

The police officer who fired the shot has been arrested and charged with murder. EFE


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