Police clash with rioters as unrest continues for fifth night
A Paris suburb mayor said his home was ram-raided and set alight while his wife and children were asleep inside in what he has called an “assassination attempt” on his family amid the unrest that has gripped France following the shooting of a teenager by a police officer.
Vincent Jeanbrun, mayor of the southern suburb of L’Hay-les-Roses, said his wife and one of their two children, aged five and seven, were injured as they fled the building in the early hours.
The official wrote on social media on Sunday: “Last night, a milestone was reached in horror and ignominy. My home was attacked and my family was the victim of an assassination attempt.”
Meanwhile, the grandmother of the killed teenager urged for an end to the riots and told a French broadcaster: “I tell the people who are rioting this: Do not smash windows, attack schools or buses. Stop!”
Riots continued to rage for a fifth night in France overnight, as 45,000 police were deployed and 719 people were arrested across the country.
Mourners paid tribute at the funeral of 17-year-old Nahel Merzouk in the Parisian suburb of Nanterre, where he was killed during a police traffic stop.
Macron to meet leaders of parliament today
President Emmanuel Macron held a special security meeting yesterday night and reportedly plans to meet today with the heads of both houses of parliament and on Tuesday with the mayors of 220 towns and cities affected by the protests.
Mr Macron also wants to start a detailed, longer-term assessment of the reasons that led to the unrest, an official told the Associated Press.
Highlighting the seriousness of the rioting, Macron has delayed what would have been the first state visit to Germany by a French president in 23 years, which had been scheduled to begin yesterday evening.
Alisha Rahaman Sarkar3 July 2023 03:52
Family grateful for support but ‘very much against the violence’, says aunt
Speaking to-The Independent’s Bel Trew in Paris, Nahel’s aunt Hatifa said: “I ask that the violence stop. I don’t want people to get hurt. The family is very much against the violence.”
“We knew Nahel’s killing would have some impact but not this much. I think there are mass protests because so many mothers, like my sister, have had enough of being scared all the time.”
She said the family were “very grateful” for the global support, which had helped as they dealt with “deep grief”.
“But I hope that Nahel’s death is going to trigger some kind of change that means this never happens again,” she added. “At the end of the day, a grown-up shot a baby.”
Holly Evans3 July 2023 03:00
‘All of this is not for Nahel,’ says relative
The family of the 17-year-old teenager have called for an end to the violence, but insisted the law around lethal force at traffic stops must change.
Speaking to the BBC, the relative, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “We didn’t ask to break or steal. All of this is not for Nahel.”
They said they had called for a “White March in the street. Walking in memory of Nahel. Walking, even being angry in the street, demonstrating, but without outbursts”.
Holly Evans3 July 2023 02:00
Macron asks ministers to ‘continue to do everything to restore order’
President Emmanuel Macron has finished meeting senior officials in Paris after asking ministers to “continue to do everything to restore order and guarantee a return to calm”.
Macron said he remained firmly alongside the security forces who were trying to restore calm to the streets but at the same time was looking in detail at the events that led to the death of 17-year-old Nahel.
The president is due to meet leaders of parliament on Monday, and more than 220 mayors of towns and cities that have been affected by the riots on Tuesday.
Holly Evans3 July 2023 01:00
How did the riots begin?
Nahel was of North African descent. The incident has fed longstanding complaints of police violence and systemic racism inside law enforcement agencies from rights groups and within the ethnically diverse suburbs that ring major cities in France.
Several people have died or sustained injuries at the hands of French police in recent years, prompting demands for more accountability. France also saw protests against racial profiling and other injustice in the wake of George Floyd’s killing by police in Minnesota.
Tuesday’s killing was the third fatal shooting during traffic stops in France so far in 2023. Last year there were a record 13 such shootings, a spokesperson for the national police said.
There were three such killings in 2021 and two in 2020, according to a Reuters tally, which shows the majority of victims since 2017 were Black or of Arab origin.
Clashes first erupted Tuesday night in and around the Paris suburb of Nanterre, where Nahel was killed. Bins were set alight and some protesters threw fireworks at police. Officers used tear gas on the crowds. The government deployed 2,000 police to maintain order Wednesday. But violence resumed after dusk. Around 40,000 police were moblilised across France on Thursday.
Martha Mchardy3 July 2023 00:00
Aunt of teenager whose death sparked riots across France pleads for violence to stop
The aunt of a French teenager shot dead by police last week, has urged the “violence to stop” and her nephew’s death to trigger “real change” peacefully, in a heartfelt interview with The Independent.
Hatifa, who turned 47 on Saturday the day of her nephew’s funeral, described Nahel Merzouk, 17, as a “loving… teddy bear” who had big ambitions, liked to write rap lyrics and was “dedicated” to his mother.
Holly Evans2 July 2023 23:32
Paris protests: What happened during the shooting?
The 17-year-old, identified as Nahel M, was driving a car on Tuesday morning when he was pulled over for breaking traffic rules, prosecutors said. The teenager was too young to hold a full driving license in France.
Police initially reported that one officer had shot at the teenager because he was driving his car towards him. But this version of events was quickly contradicted by a video circulating on social media.
On Thursday, The Nanterre prosecutor said that witness statements, CCTV video footage, amateur video footage, and statements from police offers were being used to piece together the timeline of events from Tuesday morning.
Pascal Prache confirmed that two motorcycle police noticed a Mercedes, with one young driver and two passengers travelling quickly in a bus lane at 7:55am on Tuesday.
Police twice attempted to indicate to the car to pull over and park, but the driver continued driving and the two police pursued the vehicle.
The Mercedes had to stop at a at a traffic light, at which point the police asked the driver to turn off engine and exit the vehicle.
The police officers said they drew their weapons and aimed them at the driver to stop him from taking off in the vehicle. However, the driver did pull away at which point the police decided to shoot.
A bullet hit the driver through arm and chest, and the car crashed. One of the passengers fled. Firefighters were called to the scene at 8:21am. They provided first aid to the driver which was unsuccessful.
The officer who fired a single shot said he wanted to prevent the car from leaving and because he feared someone may be hit by the car, including himself or his colleague, according to Mr Prache.
The police officer faces preliminary charges of voluntary homicide for shooting Nahel.
Based on an initial investigation, the prosector Mr Prache said, he concluded that “the conditions for the legal use of the weapon were not met.”
Martha Mchardy2 July 2023 23:00
Watch: Riot police deployed on Champs-Elysees after funeral of teenager shot by police
Riot police deployed on Champs-Elysees after funeral of teenager shot by police
Martha Mchardy2 July 2023 22:00
Travellers to France advised not to cancel trips but to avoid cities at night
Holidaymakers have been advised by a travel expert not to cancel their trips to France following five nights of unrest but to stay “flexible” and avoid big cities at night-time.
Rioting has spread across the country following the fatal shooting by police of 17-year-old boy Nahel in the Paris suburb of Nanterre on Tuesday.
The UK Government updated its guidance for travellers to France to warn of “potential disruption” but it does not advise against travel to the country.
Health Secretary Steve Barclay encouraged people considering travelling to France to check the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) for updated advice.
Speaking on Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme, he said: “It’s something that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office will be monitoring very closely.
“They keep regular updates on their website.
“And what I would say to anyone concerned about it who is thinking of travelling to France, to keep an eye on the Foreign Office website, there will be regular updates there, and that will keep people informed.”
Martha Mchardy2 July 2023 21:00
France endures fifth night of violence after teenager’s funeral with street battles in Marseille
Even though the rioting appeared to be less intense on Saturday, with tens of thousands of police deployed in cities across the country, more than 700 people were arrested. Police fired tear gas and fought street battles with protestors late into the night in flashpoint Marseilles.
Earlier in the day, 17-year-old Nahel Merzouk was laid to rest in the Paris suburb of Nanterre, where he had been shot dead by a police officer during a traffic stop on Tuesday, triggering days of fierce clashes.
Martha Mchardy2 July 2023 20:00
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