Protests Escalate in France For Third Night After Fatal Police Shooting Of Teenager.
Protests engulfed France for the third consecutive night following the fatal police shooting of a 17-year-old, with demonstrators erecting barricades, setting fires, and clashing with law enforcement in various French cities.
In Nanterre, a northwestern suburb of Paris, where the teenager, identified as Nahel, was shot by a police officer, protesters set ablaze cars that had been flipped and charred. Meanwhile, in Clichy-sous-Bois, a suburb on the other side of Paris, demonstrators ignited a fire at the city hall. Similar incidents occurred in Marseille, where the police attempted to disperse violent groups in the city center.
To suppress the protests, tens of thousands of police officers were deployed nationwide, resulting in over 400 arrests and approximately 200 injured police officers. Tear gas, water cannons, and dispersion grenades were employed against rioters, who targeted schools, town halls, and police stations by setting fires. Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin announced that 40,000 officers would be deployed overnight, with 5,000 in the Paris region alone, emphasizing a strong response from the state.
The police officer responsible for the shooting has been preliminarily charged with voluntary homicide, as the initial investigation concluded that the use of the weapon did not meet the legal requirements. The officer's lawyer expressed remorse on their behalf, asserting that the officer acted out of perceived necessity rather than intent to kill.
The incident, captured on video, has shocked France and reignited longstanding tensions between the police and young residents in disadvantaged neighborhoods and housing projects. Although the teenager's family and lawyers have not attributed the shooting to racism, activists against racism have raised concerns about police conduct and called for change.
Throughout the day, tensions escalated in various locations across France. In Pau, a Molotov cocktail was thrown at a new police office, while vehicles were set on fire in Toulouse, and a tramway train was torched in a Lyon suburb. In response to the unrest, several towns, including Clamart and Neuilly-sur-Marne, announced overnight curfews as a precautionary measure.
The ramifications of the incident reached Brussels, where scuffles related to the shooting led to a dozen detentions. The scenes of unrest in France's suburbs evoked memories of the 2005 riots triggered by the deaths of Bouna Traoré and Zyed Benna, highlighting the deep-rooted anger and resentment prevalent in neglected suburban areas.
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