| 17 April 2024, Wednesday |

France’s Macron to hold emergency meeting amid violent riots

French President Emmanuel Macron will hold a new government emergency meeting later on Friday after riots erupted for the third night in a row across the country in protest over the deadly shooting of a teen by police earlier in the week.

According to a statement from the office of French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, as of approximately 3:00 a.m. (0100 GMT) on Friday, a minimum of 421 individuals have been apprehended throughout the country during the course of the night.
According to Le Figaro newspaper, more than half of those arrests took place in the Paris region.
The paper said that the majority of those arrested were aged between 14 and 18 years old.
“There aren’t any very violent confrontations in direct contact with the police, but there are a number of vandalized stores, looted or even burned businesses,” a senior police officer told AFP.
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin says police have already arrested more than 100 people as the riots enter their third night.
He also praised the work of the emergency services
“Support for our police officers, gendarmes, and firefighters who are doing a brave job,” said Darmanin.
The mother of the teenager who was killed says she thought the death was racially motivated, but added that she held no grudge against the wider police force.
“I don’t blame the police, I blame one person: the one who took the life of my son,” Mounia, described as a worker in the medical sector, said in her first media interview since the Tuesday morning shooting.
“I have friends who are officers. They are completely behind me… they don’t agree with what happened,” she said.
She said the officer who killed her son — who was at the wheel of a powerful Mercedes without a license — had other options than firing his gun.
“He didn’t need to kill my son. A bullet? So close to his chest? No, no,” the single mother said.
The officer “saw an Arab face, a little kid, and wanted to take his life,” she said. “How long is this going to go on for? How many other children are going to go like this? How many mothers will find themselves like me?” she added.
The policeman who killed a French teenager in a Paris suburb on Tuesday, sparking violent protests across the country, has apologized to the family while in custody, his lawyer said.
“The first words he pronounced were to say sorry and the last words he said were to say sorry to the family,” Laurent-Franck Lienard told French broadcaster BFMTV.
“He is devastated, he doesn’t get up in the morning to kill people,” Lienard said. “He didn’t want to kill him.”
Lienard said he would on Friday appeal against his client — who has been charged with voluntary homicide — being placed in custody.
Unrest in France has continued with police and youths clashing in the southern French port city of Marseille.
Hundreds of young people were seen roaming the streets and setting trash cans on fire in the city, including some at the regional administrative office.
Police say they dispersed a crowd of roughly 400 people and made several arrests. One officer was reported injured in the melee.
The unrest has now spread beyond France’s borders to neighboring Belgium.
Brussels police on Thursday evening arrested roughly a dozen individuals who clashed with authorities. Police say at least one car was set on fire and that several smaller fires had been extinguished.
Police around France are bracing for a potential third night of unrest.
An additional 40,000 officers were made available for overnight duty, four times the numbers on hand on Wednesday.
There were reports of clashes in Nanterre, the Parisien district where the 17-year-old was killed, following a march in his honor in which around 6,000 people had participated.
French news agency AFP also cited a police source as saying that further violence was expected in the “coming nights,” with “actions tageted at the forces of order and the symbols of the state.” The police source was discussing an internal memo, and French newspaper Le Monde appeared to quote a police source relaying information from the same paper.
Le Monde reported that authorities expected a “generalization” of the unrest, which at first had been confined to Nanterre but which already showed signs of spreading nationwide last night.

  • DW