Paris, France – A teenager named Nael, who worked as a delivery driver, was driving on Tuesday morning when he was arrested for a traffic violation, according to a spokesman for the French prosecutor’s office. Police initially said one of the officers shot the teenager because he was heading towards him in his car. But this version of the facts was quickly denied by a video circulating on social networks, the authenticity of which was confirmed by French press agencies. Two investigations were opened, one for refusal to comply and attempted murder by public authority, the other for intentional murder by public authority. The 38-year-old policeman was arrested, according to Le Figaro.
A video of the shooting of a teenager circulating on social networks provoked a strong reaction and led to an outbreak of violence on Tuesday evening in several districts of Nanterre, as well as in several other towns in Hauts-de-Seine and Île-de-France. -France. -France metropolitan departments. The riots continued Wednesday evening and Thursday evening. Thirty people were arrested on Tuesday, Thursday morning the police announced 77 detainees. The French Ministry of the Interior called for calm and indicated that 2,000 police officers had been mobilized in the Paris region.
Protesters fired fireworks at law enforcement and set fire to cars in Nanterre on Wednesday night. Fireworks exploded near the police barriers on Avenue Pablo Picasso in Nanterre, setting several cars on fire. Police also clashed with protesters in the northern city of Lille and in Toulouse in the south-west of the country. Riots also took place in Amiens, Dijon and in the administrative department of Essonne, south of the French capital, according to a French police spokesman. A major fire caused by firecrackers to the police broke out Thursday evening in a building in Villeurbanne, causing four minor injuries, local officials told AFP. The firefighters intervened at 1 a.m. due to a fire on the balcony of the third floor of a seven-storey building in the Ferrandière-Maisons-Neuve district, south of this city bordering Lyon. Some apartments were destroyed by fire. According to the firefighters, the inhabitants of ten apartments, or 35 people in total, have been relocated. Four people were also hospitalized in a state of mild alcohol intoxication, who, presumably, intended to fire firecrackers at the police from the balcony.
French media reported incidents in many other places in Greater Paris. A video on social media showed dozens of fireworks targeting the town hall in Montreuil, on the eastern outskirts of Paris. The use of lethal force by police against the teenager, who is of North African descent, has given rise to a deep-rooted perception of police brutality in ethnically diverse neighborhoods of France’s biggest cities, reports the Guardian. On Wednesday, French President Emmanuel Macron called for calm and told reporters: “We have a teenager who has been killed, it is inexplicable and inexcusable. There is no justification for the death of a young man.” His remarks were unusually candid for a country where senior politicians often refrain from criticizing the police, given voters’ concerns about citizen safety. Macron’s response was criticized as “weak” and “indecisive” by politicians on both right and left. Human rights groups have reiterated systemic racism in French law enforcement, which Macron has previously denied.
Lawmakers honored the teenager’s memory with a minute’s silence in the National Assembly, ahead of Prime Minister Elizabeth Bourne’s speech. She said the shooting was “clearly against the rules”. In a video posted on TikTok, a woman identified as the victim’s mother called for a memorial march in Nanterre on Thursday. “Come on everyone, we’re going to revolt for my son,” she said.
Tuesday’s murder was the third death during a roadside check and identity check in France in 2023. Last year, a record number of 13 such cases were recorded, a doorman said. word of the national police. Most victims since 2017 have been black or Arab, with three such killings in 2021 and two in 2020, according to Reuters. Two prominent police unions hit back at the criticism, saying the detained officer should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Meanwhile, what is happening in France is almost a carbon copy of the incident with the murder of African American George Floyd by white police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis in May 2020. This tragic event has sparked protests from the black population in the United States, which led to riots and clashes between protesters and police.
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