Saturday, July 1, 2023

Protests in France after fatal police shooting during traffic stop

President Emmanuel Macron of France urgently appealed to parents as the country braced for another night of unrest over the fatal police shooting of a 17-year-old, with French officials saying that the protests were driven mostly by angry young people and coordinated on social media, reported The New York Times.

Mr. Macron’s government is struggling to contain the rage unleashed by the killing, in which a police officer fatally shot a teenage driver during a traffic stop in Nanterre, west of Paris, on Tuesday. Anger over the shooting tapped into decades-long complaints about police violence and persistent feelings of neglect and racial discrimination in France’s poorer urban suburbs.

Speaking at the end of a crisis cabinet meeting in Paris — the second this week — Mr. Macron called the violence “unjustifiable” and said it had “no legitimacy whatsoever.”

“There is an unacceptable manipulation of a teenager’s death,” said Mr. Macron, who had taken the rare step of leaving early from a European Union summit in Brussels to attend the crisis meeting.

A third of those arrested overnight were “young, sometimes very young,” Mr. Macron said. “It is the parents’ responsibility to keep them at home.”

Over 800 people were arrested over Thursday night after protesters burned 2,000 cars, damaged nearly 500 buildings, looted stores and clashed with riot police officers in Nanterre and dozens of cities around France, according to the Interior Ministry. In Marseille, two plainclothes police officers were badly beaten, according to GĂ©rald Darmanin, the French interior minister.

Several cities, like Strasbourg, experienced sporadic daytime vandalism and looting of stores in their city centers on Friday afternoon and evening — a departure from previous days, when the protests were almost exclusively in suburbs. Some protests in Marseille turned particularly violent on Friday evening, as rioters overturned and burned cars.

Now, the country is bracing for a potential fourth night of chaotic protests.

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