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Paris riots today: Protests spread to Switzerland and Belgium as teen’s aunt calls for ‘real change’


Police clash with rioters as unrest continues for fifth night

Protest over the death of a 17-year-old boy in France spread to neighbouring Switzerland and Belgium.

In the Swiss city of Lausanne, clashes erupted between the police and groups of protesters, mostly young men. Seven people, including teenagers, were detained after several shops were vandalised in Lausanne.

In the French-speaking western part of Switzerland, 100 people gathered on Saturday night where paving stones and at least one Molotov cocktail were thrown at officers, police said.

About a dozen people were detained in the Belgian capital, Brussels, and several fires were brought under control last week.

Meanwhile, the aunt of the slain teen, urged the “violence to stop” and her nephew’s death to trigger “real change” peacefully as parts of France witnessed a sixth night of unrest.

“The family is very much against the violence,” the aunt told The Independent. “But I hope that Nahel’s death is going to trigger some kind of change that means this never happens again,” she added.

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.

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Aunt of teenager 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.

She said the family – who are of Algerian and Moroccan origin – had been overwhelmed by the national and global response to his killing last week by a police officer during a traffic stop in a west Parisian suburb.“I ask that the violence stop. I don’t want people to get hurt. The family is very much against the violence,” Hatifa, a mother-of-four herself, told The Independent.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar3 July 2023 04:24

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French PM visits L’Hay-les-Roses

Prime minister Elisabeth Borne and interior minister Gerald Darmanin visited the suburb of L’Hay-les-Roses yesterday, where the home of a Paris mayor was rammed and set alight while his family was sleeping inside.

“We’ll continue to bring order as quickly as possible,” Ms Borne said.

“No mayor will be left alone.”

Condemning the attack, she said: “The act of the kind we saw this morning here is particularly shocking. We will let no violence get by unpunished.”

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar3 July 2023 06:50

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Protests spread to Switzerland and Belgium

Protests against the death of a 17-year-old boy in France have spread to the neighbouring countries of Switzerland and Belgium.

In the Swiss city of Lausanne, clashes broke out between police and groups of protesters, similar to the clashes in France.

Seven people, mostly teenagers, were detained after several shops were vandalised in Lausanne, The Telegraph reported.

Around 100 people gathered in the mainly French-speaking western part of Switzerland, where paving stones and at least one Molotov cocktail were thrown at officers, the police said.

About a dozen people were detained in the Belgian capital, Brussels, and several fires were brought under control last week

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar3 July 2023 06:42

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At least 45,000 police to be deployed after attack on mayor

The office of interior minister Gerald Darmanin said 45,000 police officers would again be deployed in the streets which saw a burning car hit the home of the mayor of the Paris suburb of L’Hay-les-Roses.

Several police stations and town halls have been targeted by fires or vandalism in recent days, but such a personal attack on a mayor’s home is unusual.

Mayor Vincent Jeanbrun said his wife and one of his children were injured in the 1:30 am attack while they slept and he was in the town hall monitoring the violence.

Mr Jeanbrun, of the conservative opposition Republicans party, said the attack represented a new stage of “horror and ignominy” in the unrest.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar3 July 2023 06:21

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Travellers to France advised not to cancel trips

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.

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.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar3 July 2023 05:20

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Riot police patrol streets of Paris

(EPA)

(EPA)

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar3 July 2023 04:45

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Where are the riots in France and why are they happening?

France has endured a fifth night of violence following a day when emotional mourners gathered for the funeral of a teenager whose killing by police sparked nationwide unrest.

The clashes between police and protesters spread across the country throughout the week.

The national police have reported fires or skirmishes in multiple cities, from Toulouse in the south to Lille in the north, though the nexus of tensions was Nanterre and other Paris suburbs.

In the southern city of Marseille, France’s second-largest, authorities banned public demonstrations, and encouraged restaurants to close outdoor eating areas early.

They said all public transport would stop at 7pm.

Chris Stevenson has more.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar3 July 2023 04:08

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At least 78 people arrested on Sunday

At least 78 people were reportedly arrested across France yesterday, significantly down from 719 arrests the day before.

More than 3,000 people have been detained overall following a mass security deployment.

Hundreds of police and firefighters have been injured in the violence, although authorities haven’t said how many protesters have been hurt.

France’s justice minister has warned that young people who share calls for violence on Snapchat or other apps could face prosecution.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar3 July 2023 04:04

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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

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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.”

Nahel’s aunt Hatifa said the family are ‘very much against the violence’

(AFP via Getty Images)

Holly Evans3 July 2023 03:00


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