Paris, Jun 30 (EFE).- French President Emmanuel Macron held crisis talks with his cabinet on Friday, after hundreds of people across France were arrested following a third consecutive night of rioting.
The unrest was sparked by the police shooting of 17-year-old Nahel M during a traffic stop in Nanterre, a Paris suburb, on Tuesday.
In a brief statement, Macron slammed the “unacceptable instrumentalization of the death of a teenager,” calling the violence “unjustifiable and completely illegitimate.”
“I condemn with the greatest firmness all those who are using this situation and this moment to try to create disorder and attack our institutions,” the president said, congratulating officers for “driving the (police) response with a cool head and courage.”
Macron outlined a series of additional measures that would be adopted to quell the unrest, including more police officers being deployed across the country.
Several “festive events and gatherings” in the “most sensitive areas” have also been canceled to “protect our town halls and our compatriots,” Macron said.
He also urged parents to keep their children at home, saying it was “their responsibility” to make sure their kids were kept out of trouble.
“A third of those arrested are young, sometimes very young children,” said Macron, who cut short a visit to Brussels where he was attending a European Union leaders summit.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin had deployed 40,000 officers on Thursday to contain unrest that erupted after Nahel M, who was driving a rental car in Nanterre without a permit, was shot.
Protestors took to the streets across several cities in France and set fire to buildings and cars, shot fireworks and put up barricades.
In Nanterre, a bank, several schools and a tax office were scorched, while in the city of Aubervilliers, another suburb of the capital, 13 buses 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 services would not be operating Friday from 9 pm in response to the violence.
In the capital, shops in the Les Halles neighborhood in downtown Paris were looted.
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.
The police officer who allegedly shot Nahel 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, and added that the police officer also “believed that what he did was necessary at the time.” EFE