On 27 June, police in Paris shot and killed a 17-year-old teenager who had failed to stop at the order of the traffic police. After that, mass riots broke out across the country, the largest of which occurred on the night of 30 June.
The day after the death of young Nahel, killed in Nanterre (Hauts-de-Seine) by police gunfire, further urban violence broke out in dozens of towns across France on Thursday evening and Friday night. Rioters burned cars in the streets. Looters attacked shops.
Police detained over 650 rioters
At first, the demonstrations took place in Nantes. However, the rallies then spread to other communes and major French cities such as Dijon, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Strasbourg and Toulouse, BFMTV reported.
During the riots in many French cities, at least 667 people were detained, and 249 police officers were injured.
Emmanuel Macron left EU summit for emergency government meeting
Amid these events, President Emmanuel Macron left the EU summit in Brussels. His press conference was cancelled due to the emergency meeting of the French government.
However, the French leader has so far ruled out the possibility of declaring a state of emergency in France due to the riots.
Nevertheless, French authorities had prepared themselves after two previous evenings of high tension. While the local intelligence service was expecting “incidents to persist”, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin announced that 40,000 police officers and gendarmes would be mobilised across France on Thursday evening.
The authorities are already investigating the case
The French judiciary has already launched two separate investigations into the teenager’s death: one into the murder by a public official and another into the driver’s failure to stop the car and an alleged attempt to “kill a police officer”.
Paris police chief Laurent Nunez said that the police officer’s actions “raise questions”, although he suggested that the officer may have felt threatened. Instead, Yassine Bouzrou, a lawyer for the 17-year-old’s family, insists that it was an unlawful defence – the video shows the policeman killing the young man in cold blood, he claimed.
The family has also filed a complaint against the police for “lying” after initially claiming that the car was trying to run over the police.
Nahel’s mother has posted a video on social media calling people to join her at the march supporting her son.