France braces for another night of violence after deadly police shooting of 17-year-old

NANTERRE: France braced for an urban riot that broke out on Thursday night following the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old by police, with tens of thousands of police taking to the streets and commuters rushing home before the outbreaks. The transport service closes early for safety reasons.
Despite government calls for calm and a pledge to restore order, smoke from burning cars and garbage still lingers on the streets. Paris suburb of Nanterre after a peaceful afternoon parade in honor of the teenager identified only by his name, Nahel.
The police officer accused of pulling the trigger was charged with a preliminary charge of voluntary murder after prosecutor Pascal Prache said the initial investigation led him to conclude he “did not meet the conditions to use weapons law.”
After an emergency meeting the morning after violence left several police officers injured and nearly 100 public buildings damaged, Home Secretary Gerald Darmanin said the number of police officers would more than quadrupled, from 9,000 to 40,000. . In the Paris area alone, the number of deployed officers will more than double to 5,000.
Darmanin said: “Those who cause disorder must go home. Although there is no need to declare a state of emergency yet – a measure taken to quell weeks of riots in 2005 – he added: “The state’s response will be extremely resolute.” He said officers had made more than 180 arrests before Thursday and “certainly” there will be more.
Bus and tram services in the Paris area were shut down before sunset as a precaution to protect transport workers and passengers, a decision that is sure to affect thousands of visitors in the capital. of France and its suburbs.
“Our transports are not the target of thugs and vandals!” Valerie Pecresse, the head of the Paris region tweeted.
The town of Clamart, home to 54,000 people in a southwestern suburb of the French capital, said it was taking the extraordinary step of imposing an overnight curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. Monday.
It cited a “new risk of public disorder” for the decision, after two nights of urban unrest. “Clamart is a safe and quiet town, we are determined to keep it that way,” it said. The mayor of another town in the Paris region, Neuilly-sur-Marne in the eastern suburbs, also announced a night-time curfew covering three parts of his town of 37,000 inhabitants, also until Monday morning. .
The shooting, captured on video, has shocked the country and stirred long-simmering tensions between police and young people in housing projects and other disadvantaged neighborhoods.
The teenager’s family and their attorney have not said the police shooting was race-related and they have not released their last name or details about him.
However, his death immediately strained nerves in neighborhoods that have welcomed generations of immigrants from former French colonies and elsewhere. Their French-born children frequently complain that they are subjected to police checks and harassment much more often than whites or those in more affluent neighborhoods.
Anti-racism activists continue to complain about police behavior after the shooting.
“We have to go beyond saying things need to calm down,” said Dominique Sopo, head of the SOS Racisme campaign group. “The problem here is how do we create a police force that when they see blacks and Arabs, they don’t tend to yell at them, use racist words. to fight them and, in some cases, shoot them in the head.”
Prache, the Nanterre prosecutor, said officers tried to stop Nahel because he looked too young and was driving a Mercedes with Polish number plates in the bus lane.
He ran a red light to avoid being stopped and got stuck in traffic. Both officers involved said they drew their guns to stop him from fleeing.
According to Prache, the officer who fired a single shot said he was afraid he and his colleagues or others might be hit by a car. Officers said they felt “threatened” as the vehicle sped away.
Prache said two judges are leading the investigation. Under French law, unlike the US and British legal systems, judges often lead investigations.
Preliminary charges mean that investigating judges have good reason to suspect wrongdoing, but they allow time for further investigation before making a decision whether to bring the case to trial. Are not. The officer has been taken into custody, according to the prosecutor’s office.
In another case, a police officer who shot dead a 19-year-old Guinean man in western France has been charged with preliminary charges of attempted murder, the local prosecutor said on Wednesday. The man was shot dead by an officer as he allegedly tried to flee a traffic stop. The investigation is still ongoing.
Despite an increased police presence on Wednesday night, violence resumed after sunset with protesters setting off fireworks and hurling rocks at police, who fired multiple volleys of tear gas.
As protests spread to other towns, police and firefighters struggled to contain protesters and put out many fires. Schools, police stations, town halls and other public buildings were damaged from Toulouse in the south to Lille in the north, according to a spokesman for the national police. suburbs of Paris.
Fires have consumed the town hall in the Paris suburb of L’Ile-Saint-Denis, not far from the national stadium and the headquarters of the Paris 2024 Olympics.
Darmanin said 170 officers were injured during the unrest but none were life-threatening. At least 90 public buildings were vandalized.
The number of civilians injured was not immediately announced.
The scenes of violence in the French suburbs are reminiscent of 2005, when the deaths of Bouna Traore, 15, and Zyed Benna, 17, led to three weeks of nationwide riots, exposing anger and outrage in neglected suburban housing projects, rife with crime.
Two boys were electrocuted after hiding from police in a substation on the outskirts of Clichy-sous-Bois, Paris.
French President Emmanuel Macron held an emergency security meeting on Thursday about the violence.
“These actions are completely absurd,” Macron said at the start of the meeting, aimed at securing flashpoints and planning for the coming days “so that full peace can return.”
Macron also said it was time for “remembrance and respect” when Nahel’s mother called for a quiet march on Thursday that drew a large crowd to Nelson Mandela Square, where he was killed.
Some marchers had the words “Justice for Nahel” printed on the front of their T-shirts. “Murder cop” reads a marcher’s placard.
“I’m scared of what might happen next,” said marcher Amira Taoubas, a mother of four boys, the oldest of whom is 11, said. “I want it to stop and it will never happen again. Can’t die like this, there’s no reason at all. I don’t want it to happen to my child.”
Bouquets of orange and yellow roses mark the site of the shooting.
Government officials condemned the killing and sought to distance themselves from the officer’s actions.
Videos of the shooting shared online showed two police officers leaning against the driver-side window of a yellow car before the vehicle sped away as an officer shot through the window. The video shows the vehicle then crashing into a nearby power pole.
The prosecutor’s office said the driver died at the scene.
The use of deadly firearms is less common in France than in the United States, although a number of people have died or been injured at the hands of French police in recent years, prompting a high demand for accountability. than. France also saw the following protests against racism and other injustices George Floyd’s death by police in Minnesota.
A police spokesman said 13 people were killed in police shootings after failing to comply with a traffic stop order last year. This year, three people including Nahel, died under similar circumstances.
The most recent government statistics show 17 people were killed after police and gendarmerie officers shot them in 2021.
Asked about police abuse, Macron said justice should be done its way.


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