Nahel’s death: what to remember from the fourth night of violence

The fourth night of tension in France since the death of young Nahel, killed Tuesday by a policeman during a traffic control, was marked by violence of “much less intensity” than previous ones, according to authorities. The Ministry of the Interior reported at least 994 arrests.

Fourth night in a row of tension in France. New scenes of looting and sporadic violence shook several cities in France overnight between Friday June 30 and Saturday July 1, but it was marked by violence of “much less intensity” than the previous ones, according to the Interior Ministry, four days after Nahels dead, killed by police fire during a road check in Nanterre.

Seized by an amateur video that contradicted the police’s initial story, the sharp shooting of a police motorcyclist and the death of the 17-year-old teenager continues to set many working-class neighborhoods in the country on fire.

At least 994 arrests have taken place, the Ministry of the Interior announced on Saturday morning. Around 02:30 Gérald Darmanin, who traveled to Mantes-la-Jolie (Yvelines), had announced violence of “less intensity” with 471 arrests nationally and pockets of tension in particular in Marseille and Lyon.

There were “79 police officers and gendarmes injured”, the ministry added in a still preliminary report. A total of 1,350 vehicles were set on fire, 234 buildings burnt or damaged and 2,560 fires recorded on public roads, a police source told AFP. The ministry also recorded 31 attacks on police stations, 16 attacks on municipal police stations and 11 on gendarmerie stations.

In an attempt to stem the spiral of rebellion, Gérald Darmanin announced in the afternoon, after a second interministerial crisis committee in two days, the “extraordinary” mobilization of 45,000 police and gendarmes and elite units such as the National Gendarmerie Intervention Group (GIGN), to avoid a fourth night in a row with riots and this a few hours before the funeral of Nahel on Saturday in the capital Hauts-de-Seine.

“The time of violence must end”

Dozens of police vans were thus placed not far from the entrance to the Vieux Pont district of Nanterre, the epicenter of urban violence and on Friday once again characterized by fireworks-mortar fire.

For their part, the players of the French football team issued a “call for reconciliation, awareness and responsibility” in the evening. “The time of violence must end to give way to the time of grief, dialogue and reconstruction,” urged the Blues.

In the evening, Marseille was once again the scene of clashes and scenes of looting, from the city center and then further north in these long-neglected working-class neighborhoods that President Emmanuel Macron visited at the start of the week.

Around 02:00, the police announced 88 arrests since the beginning of the evening, groups of young people, often masked and “very mobile” looted or tried to do so several signs. A major fire, “related to the riots”, broke out in a supermarket, according to a police source.

Scenes of looting of shops and clashes between hooded protesters and the police also made the evening feverish in certain corners of Grenoble, Saint-Etienne and Lyon, while in the western region there were still points of tension such as in Angers or Tours and its region. in the middle of the night only a few very mobile groups facing the police.

“How many Nahels have not been filmed?”

The Paris region was not spared by the flames, especially Colombes (Hauts-de-Seine) enveloped in a strong smell of burning and where firefighters extinguished a burning car, noted an AFP journalist on the scene.

In Nanterre, nine people were arrested with jerry cans and Molotov cocktails. In Saint-Denis, an administrative center was hit by fire, and in Val-d’Oise, the town hall of Persan-Beaumont and the municipal police station caught fire and were partially destroyed.

To avoid overcrowding, Gérald Darmanin had asked the prefects to stop buses and trams throughout France after 21:00.

The administrative court, for its part, approved on Friday the curfew introduced in Clamart (Hauts-de-Seine), and indeed also those established in other municipalities.

Demonstrations “against racism, crime and police violence” were also banned on Friday night in Paris, in the center of Marseille, Lyon, Bordeaux or Toulouse. But several hundred people marched after all, especially in Montpellier with signs “Let’s disband the police, how many Nahels were not filmed?”, noted two AFP journalists.

Tensions in Paris, Place de la Concorde, between police and protesters demanding justice for Nahel. The 17-year-old was killed by a police officer in Hauts-de-Seine during a roadside check last Tuesday

The government has also decided to cancel “large-scale” events, in particular Mylène Farmer’s concerts at the Stade de France on Friday and Saturday.

Macron appeals to parents’ “responsibility”.

The seal’s keeper, Éric Dupond-Moretti, called for a “swift, firm and systematic” criminal response against the perpetrators of urban violence, but also their parents.

Pointing to the youth of many rioters, Emmanuel Macron called “all parents responsible”, criticized the “instrumentalization” of Nahel’s death and asked social networks to “remove” content and identify their users.

The issue of the state of emergency is being raised and scrutinized abroad, especially as France hosts the Rugby World Cup in the autumn and then the Paris Olympics in the summer of 2024.

Britain and other European countries have warned their nationals and urged them to avoid insurgent zones.

Since the death on Tuesday of Nahel, a teenage dropout who became a messenger, schools and public buildings have been the target of anger among young residents of working-class neighborhoods and set on fire in several French cities, reminiscent of the unrest that rocked France in 2005 after the death of two teenagers who were pursued by the police.

The spark this time was the tragedy that occurred on Tuesday near the Nanterre-Préfecture RER station, not far from the business center of La Défense, during a police check of the car driven by Nahel, a minor known for refusing to comply.

The 38-year-old policeman, author of the shooting, was charged on Thursday afternoon with intentional homicide and remanded in custody.


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