Riots spread across France after teenager shot dead by police

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Paris: President Emmanuel Macron convened a crisis meeting with senior ministers after riots spread across France overnight over the deadly police shooting of a teenager of North African descent during a traffic stop.

Police made 150 arrests nationwide during a second night of unrest, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said, as public anger spilled out onto the streets, notably in the ethnically diverse suburbs of France’s big cities.

Police forces walk past burning cars in Nanterre, outside Paris.Credit: AP

The epicentre of the unrest was in Nanterre, a working class town on the western outskirts of Paris where the shooting of the 17-year-old boy identified as Nahel took place.

“The last few hours have been marked by scenes of violence against police stations but also schools and town halls, and thus institutions of the Republic and these scenes are wholly unjustifiable,” Macron said as he opened the emergency meeting.

The fatal shooting has fed into longstanding complaints of police violence from within the low-income, racially mixed suburbs that ring major cities in France.

A video shared on social media, verified by Reuters, shows two police officers beside a car, a Mercedes AMG, with one shooting at the teenage driver at close range as he pulls away. He died shortly afterwards from his wounds, the local prosecutor said.

Youths clash with police in Nanterre.Credit: AP

The interior ministry had said Wednesday on that 2000 police had been mobilised in the Paris region. Shortly before midnight on Nanterre’s Avenue Pablo Picasso, a trail of overturned vehicles burned as fireworks fizzed at police lines.

Police also clashed with protesters in the northern city of Lille and in Toulouse in the southwest, and there was unrest in Amiens, Dijon as well as in numerous districts throughout the greater Paris region, the authorities said.

A police officer is being investigated for voluntary homicide for shooting the youth. Prosecutors say the boy failed to comply with an order to stop his car.

Rights groups allege systemic racism inside law enforcement agencies in France, a charge Macron has previously denied.


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