Violence in France for the fourth consecutive night, 1,100 arrested: 10 points

French President Emmanuel Macron urged parents to take responsibility for underage rioters.

Sporadic violence and looting were witnessed in several French cities for the fourth consecutive night after the police shooting of 17-year-old Nahel, who was shot dead during a traffic stop in the Paris suburb of Nanterre on Tuesday.

Here are 10 facts in this big story:

  1. French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said today that 270 people had been arrested last night, bringing the total number of arrests in connection with the violence to 1,100. Last night’s arrests included 80 people in Marseille, France’s second largest city, news agency Reuters reported. Many of the arrested protesters were between the ages of 14 and 18.

  2. The mayor of Marseille, Benoît Payen, where three police officers were injured today, urged the national government to send additional troops immediately. “The scenes of looting and violence are unacceptable,” he tweeted last night. A helicopter and armored personnel carriers were deployed in Lyon, France’s third largest city.

  3. 45,000 officers with lightly armored vehicles have been deployed and crack police units and other security forces have been deployed across the country in an effort to quell the unrest. Mr Dermanin was quoted by AFP news agency as saying last night’s violence was of “very low intensity”. The minister said that more than 200 police officers have been injured since the violence began, and that the average age of the rioters was 17 years old.

  4. While violence and looting was reported to be the worst in Marseille and Lyon, clashes also broke out between hooded protesters and police in parts of Grenoble and Saint-Etienne. Sporadic violence was also reported in the suburbs of Paris.

  5. French President Emmanuel Macron, who left an EU summit early to attend a second cabinet crisis meeting in two days, urged parents to take responsibility for underage rioters. Condemning the “unacceptable exploitation of a teen’s death” in some circles, he vowed to work with social networks to stop “copycat violence” spread through services such as TikTok and Snapchat.

  6. “Times of violence must give way to mourning, dialogue and reconstruction,” said a statement posted by French national football team captain and Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe. Les Blas said they were “shocked by the brutal death of young Nahel” but asked that the violence give way to “other peaceful and constructive ways of expressing oneself”, reports AFP.

  7. Buses and trams, which had been the target of violence on some other nights, closed at 9pm last night and the sale of flammable liquids and large firecrackers have been banned. Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne also announced the cancellation of large-scale events across the country.

  8. In her first interview since Nahel’s death, his mother Mounia told France 5 television on Thursday: “I don’t blame the police, I blame one person: the one who took my son’s life.” He said the 38-year-old responsible officer, who has been charged with voluntary manslaughter, “saw an Arab face, a little child, and wanted to kill him”.

  9. Nahel’s death has revived long-standing complaints about policing and racial profiling in France’s low-income and multi-ethnic suburbs. Mohamed Jakoubi, who saw Nahel growing up, said anger was fueled by a sense of injustice following incidents of police violence against minority ethnic communities, many of whom were from former French colonies.

  10. The UN rights office said yesterday that the killing of the teenager of North African descent was “a moment for the country to seriously address the deep issues of racism and racial discrimination in law enforcement”. However, a statement from the French Foreign Ministry was dismissive. The allegation is “completely baseless”. Britain and other European countries have updated their travel advice and warned tourists to stay away from riot-hit areas.