French police arrest hundreds amid decline in violence in fifth night of unrest

French police arrested at least 719 people on Saturday night in a fifth night of uprisings across the country following the funeral of 17-year-old Nahle earlier in the day. The interior ministry said the level of violence appeared to have declined since anger first erupted after the teenager was shot and killed by police in a traffic jam in the Paris suburb of Nanterre on Tuesday. Read our live blog for all the latest developments. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).

  • The 17-year-old victim, Nahel M., was shot at point-blank range by a police officer in the Paris suburb of Nanterre on Tuesday morning. He was driving a yellow Mercedes when he was pulled over for a traffic violation.
  • Police initially reported he was shot after driving his car at officers, but that claim was contradicted by a video that quickly spread on social media and was later confirmed by AFP. The video showed two officers standing next to the stationary car, with one pointing a weapon at the driver. “You’re going to be shot in the head,” a voice was heard saying. Police then appeared to fire as the car pulled away abruptly and came to a stop.
  • The incident sparked four nights of violent unrest in the capital and cities across France, with protesters clashing with police.

12:01pm: PM condemns ‘intolerable behaviour’ after attack on mayor’s home

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne slammed what she described as an “intolerable act” after the home of the mayor of Le Alles Roses, Vincent Jeanbrun, was attacked on Sunday. “The perpetrators will be prosecuted with the utmost severity,” the head of government said in a statement.

Keeping Brun inside the heavily fortified city hall when the attack occurred, thugs burned his car and crashed their own into his house. The mayor’s wife and two children escaped from the backyard during the attack.

11:45 a.m.: Ram attack aimed at setting fire to mayor’s home, prosecutors say

Creteil prosecutor Stephane Hardouin confirmed Sunday morning that he had attempted murder following a crash-and-car attack on the home of Le Haile Rose Mayor Vincent Jeanbrun An investigation was launched, he told French television, and preliminary investigations indicated that the car had been deliberately murderous, had driven down the house and set it on fire. Accelerator was found in a bottle inside the car, he said.

11:23am: Seven detained in Lausanne, ‘echoing’ French violence

Seven people, mostly teenagers, were detained as shop windows were smashed in the Swiss city of Lausanne, Swiss police said on Sunday, as young people gathered and “echoed” unrest in neighboring France.

More than 100 people gathered in the center of Lausanne, the French-speaking part of western Switzerland, on Saturday night, police said in a statement. They are said to be responding to several calls on social media that have been linked to nights of violence that have rocked France after police killed a 17-year-old in a Paris suburb.

The windows of several shops and the door of one shop were broken, police said, as officers dispersed youths who threw paving stones and Molotov cocktails at them.They detained six people aged between 15 and 17 Three girls and three boys with Portuguese, Somali, Bosnian, Swiss, Georgian and Serbian nationalities and a 24-year-old Swiss man.

No police officers were injured.

9:31 a.m.: Mayor’s wife hospitalized for crash attack

France 24’s Liza Kaminonov reported from the scene of the overnight attack on the home of Le Haile Rose Mayor Vincent Jeanbrun, detailing how the rioters set the fire burning house republican party party spokesman’s car and set off fireworks at his home. Let Brun’s wife and two children escape from the back garden. His wife was injured in the attack and is currently being treated in hospital.


8:18 a.m.: Overnight arrests rise to 719

Police arrests had risen to 719 as of Sunday morning during the fifth night of unrest following the killing of 17-year-old Naher, the interior ministry announced.

8:02 a.m.: Thugs stormed my home, mayor says

The mayor of a small town south of Paris said on Sunday that French rioters rammed a car into the mayor’s home, injuring his wife and a child.

Protesters “rammed a car into his home” before “setting it ablaze,” Le Haile Rose Mayor Vincent Jean Brun wrote on Twitter. “My wife and one of my children were injured,” he said.

Prosecutors in Creteil announced an investigation into attempted murder.


4:30am: American academic compares France to US

Professor Crystal Fleming The Center for Sociology and African Studies at Stony Brook University in New York spoke to FRANCE 24 about the underlying tension felt by people who suffer from prejudice in France.

Drawing comparisons to the United States, Fleming highlighted the increase in police shootings, which disproportionately target Arab or Afro-French blacks.

“One of the differences with France, which has a deep-seated denial of why Naher himself was killed, is that there are also these broader issues of discrimination,” Fleming said.

Click the video below to watch the full interview.


4:15am: 486 arrests so far across France

A total of 486 people had been arrested in France as of 3:30am (01:00GMT) on Sunday, the Interior Ministry said, although the level of violence appeared to have declined since the unrest first erupted

Interior Minister Gerald Dalmanin tweeted earlier Sunday: “The night has become calmer due to the resolute action of the security forces.”


Dalmanin earlier told reporters that 45,000 members of the security forces would be deployed overnight Same numbers as the night before.

But additional troops and equipment were sent to Lyon, Grenoble and Marseilles, which had previously seen violent riots.

As of 3:00 am Sunday, some 7,000 police officers had been deployed in and around Paris, and 194 people had been arrested.

In Marseille, police dispersed a group of young people on Saturday night on Cannabière, the main avenue that runs through the city centre, an AFP correspondent said.

Authorities in Lyon and Marseille reported fewer incidents by midnight than the night before, with 77 arrests in the two cities by around 1:30 a.m.

On July 2, Nahel, a 17-year-old teenager, was killed by a French policeman during a traffic jam on the Champs-Elysees Avenue Nanterre in Paris, France. The protests continued into the fifth night, and the police detained some young people.  2023.
On July 2, a 17-year-old teenager was killed by a French policeman during a traffic jam in Nanterre, in the Champs-Elysées area of ​​Paris, France. The protests continued into the fifth night, and the police detained some young people. 2023. © Juan Medina, Reuters

3:30am: Serious clashes and looting in Marseille

The southern port city of Marseille has been the center of long-neglected low-income neighborhoods that Macron visited earlier this week and the scene of clashes and looting in the north.

Local authorities went one step further, stopping all city traffic, including the subway, from 6:00 pm and banning all protests until Sunday.

Police reinforcements have been sent to the city, including armored vehicles and two helicopters.

Macron urged parents to take responsibility for underage rioters, a third of whom are “young or very young”.

Justice Secretary Eric Dupont-Moretti said Saturday that 30 percent of those arrested were minors, while Damanin said the average age of those arrested was just 17.


2:47am: 322 people arrested across France, Interior Ministry says

A total of 322 people had been arrested for the unrest across France as of 1:30 a.m. on Sunday, the interior ministry said, though violence over the police shooting death of a teenager appeared to be ebbing.

According to provisional statistics, among those arrested, there were 126 in the Paris region, 56 in Marseille and 21 in Lyon.

Interior Minister Gerald Dalmanin told reporters earlier that 45,000 members of the security forces would be deployed overnight from Saturday to Sunday Same numbers as the night before.

But additional troops and equipment were sent to Lyon, Grenoble and Marseilles, which had previously seen violent riots.

Some 7,000 police officers had been deployed in and around Paris and 126 people had been arrested as of 1:30 a.m. Sunday.

In Marseille, police dispersed a group of young people on Saturday night on Carnebière, the main avenue that runs through the city centre, an AFP correspondent said.

Authorities in Lyon and Marseille reported fewer incidents than the previous night as of midnight, with 56 and 21 arrests in the cities, respectively.

Some towns have imposed nighttime curfews.

Key developments since Saturday, July 1:

Riots appeared less intense across France on Saturday as tens of thousands of police officers were deployed in cities across the country.

French President Emmanuel Macron has postponed a state visit to Germany that was due to start on Sunday in response to the worst crisis facing his leadership since the “yellow vest” protests paralyzed much of France in late 2018.

Some 45,000 police officers patrolled the streets, and specialized elite troops, armored vehicles and helicopters were deployed to reinforce the three largest cities, Paris, Lyon and Marseille.

The biggest flashpoint was in Marseille, where police fired tear gas and engaged in street fighting with young people around the city center into the night.

In Paris, police stepped up security on the city’s iconic Champs-Elysees avenue after social media calls for crowds to gather. The street, usually packed with tourists, was now full of security forces conducting spot checks. The store’s exterior walls are boarded up to prevent potential damage and looting.

Read yesterday’s live blog to see how all the events of the day progressed.

On July 1, 2023, in Nanterre, a suburb of Paris, France, a firefighter sprayed water on a burned-out bus.
On July 1, 2023, in Nanterre, a suburb of Paris, France, a firefighter sprayed water on a burned-out bus. © Yves Hermann, Reuters

(France 24, AFP, Reuters and AP)

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