Riots and unrest in French cities lead to nearly 1,000 arrests

PIcture source - AFP
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French authorities detained nearly 1,000 individuals in the fourth consecutive night of unrest, as riots continued to sweep through cities across the country. In response to the upheaval triggered by a police officer’s fatal shooting of a teenager, the government deployed 45,000 police officers and several armoured vehicles.

According to France’s interior ministry, the number of arrests during the recent night of violence reached 994, compared to 875 on the previous night. This situation has thrust President Emmanuel Macron into the most severe crisis of his leadership since the Yellow Vest protests.

The ministry noted that the intensity of violence during the night was somewhat lower than the preceding night. Nonetheless, buildings were set on fire, vehicles were torched, and shops were looted as the unrest spread nationwide, affecting cities like Marseille, Lyon, Toulouse, Strasbourg, and Lille.

Protests in Paris continued, particularly in the Nanterre suburb, where 17-year-old Nahel M., of Algerian and Moroccan descent, was shot and killed during a traffic stop earlier in the week. Video footage of Nahel’s death has reignited longstanding grievances from underprivileged and racially diverse urban communities, who have been raising concerns about police violence and racism.

On the night in question, 80 people were arrested in Marseille, the country’s second-largest city with a significant population of North African origin. Social media posts depicted an explosion in Marseille’s old port area, and authorities are currently investigating the incident without any reported casualties.

During the unrest, rioters in central Marseille looted a gun store, taking some hunting rifles, but no ammunition. One person was apprehended with a rifle believed to be from the store, which is now under police guard.