France was plunged into turmoil for the fourth consecutive night as rioting spread across major cities, triggered by the shooting of Nahel M by a police officer. The grieving family of the teenager prepared for his funeral in the Paris suburb where the tragic incident occurred.
In an effort to restore order, the government deployed a massive force of 45,000 police officers and deployed armored vehicles, reminiscent of the “Yellow Vest” protests that paralyzed France in late 2018, marking one of the most significant challenges to President Emmanuel Macron’s leadership.
The interior ministry reported a significant increase in arrests, with 1,311 individuals detained compared to 875 the previous night, although it claimed that the violence had diminished in intensity, according to a tweet.
Nahel’s mother, Mounia M, expressed her anger towards the specific officer who shot her son but clarified that her frustration did not extend to the entire police force. In an interview with France 5 television, she accused the officer of targeting her son due to his appearance, stating, “He saw a little Arab-looking kid, he wanted to take his life. A police officer cannot take his gun and fire at our children, take our children’s lives.”
Although the family has not disclosed Nahel’s full surname, it has been revealed that he worked as a takeaway delivery driver and was an active member of the Pirates of Nanterre rugby club. He was the only child raised by his mother, who claimed that his death was a result of his “Arab face.”
The mayor of Marseille, Benoit Payan, condemned the scenes of looting and rioting in the city, describing them as unacceptable. Despite President Macron’s appeal to parents to keep their children at home, clashes between young protesters and law enforcement persisted in the streets.
Authorities reported approximately 2,500 fires and widespread looting, causing significant damage to stores. Meanwhile, projectiles, including fireworks, were launched at police and buildings.
With more than 1,300 arrests made, the unrest continued to grip France, fueling concerns about the escalating violence and the underlying tensions surrounding the tragic shooting of the 17-year-old boy during a traffic stop.