Paris: Protestors shoot fireworks toward riot police (Photo by Kiran Ridley/Getty Images)


Violence spreads across France after teenager shot by police in Paris


Violent riots erupted in Paris and other cities across France on the night of June 27 following the shooting of a North African teenager by a policeman in the French capital.

Paris police announced more than 2,000 officers are now being mobilised in the city amid fears of further outbreaks of serious unrest tonight.

Meanwhile, French President, Emmanuel Macron, has stated that the youngster’s death was “inexcusable”.

The civil unrest blew up after the death of a North African driver, named by Le Monde as Naël M, aged 17, on Tuesday. The boy was shot by an officer as he tried to flee after being stopped.

The violence last night was initially concentrated in the outskirts of Paris but it is reported to have then spread across the country, including to the cities of Lille, Nantes and Marseilles. The chief of the Paris police said 24 people had been arrested following the clashes.

Opinion in the French media seems divided over the incident, with several outlets highlighting the teenager’s age and decrying what they called police brutality against ethnic minorities, while others are focusing on his refusal to comply with the police order and his apparent criminal history.

Paris police claim they are investigating what may be a wrongful shooting and what they described as a possible “attempted intentional homicide” targeted at the officer involved.

Video footage taken by members of the public at the scene shows two policemen wedged between a wall and Naël’s car. One officer is seen pointing a gun into the driver’s seat while on the bonnet of the stationary car, when Naël suddenly accelerates and the policeman fires.

Footage then shows the car crashed a short distance away.

In the wake of Naël’s death, indignation and anger immediately spread throughout his home community in the Paris suburb of Vieux Pont, which soon spiralled into outright violence.

Piles of rubbish were set on fire and makeshift barricades were erected. Several cars were also torched and the growing unrest sparked police to fire tear gas into the rioting mob.

Footage of riot police coming under a barrage of fireworks and other missiles were likened by one Le Figaro journalist to scenes in the recent movie Athena, which depicts France descending into civil war. He wrote: “The anger [at Naël’s death] quickly turned into a thirst for vengeance.”

In light of last night’s events, French interior minister, Gérald Darmanin, and other political figures have called for no repeat of the violence, urging people to respect the grieving friends and family of the deceased driver. They also said that everyone should remain calm, allowing the official investigation into the incident to proceed unhindered.

Amid much speculation and vocal criticism from French celebrities over the shooting, one commentator wondered why those same well-known figures had remained silent regarding the death of Lola Daviet – a young French girl who was murdered and dismembered by an illegal migrant last year – as well as keeping quiet over the children brutally stabbed by a Syrian asylum-seeker in the city of Annecy.

Prominent Left-wing politicians have decried the shooting of Naël, saying that non-compliance is no cause for an officer to kill a suspect.

The latest incident marks an increase in violence in France, with at least 13 people reported to have been killed last year alone in so-called non-compliance incidents during police traffic stops.

Naël was already known to police, having been involved in several non-compliance incidents previously and for driving without a licence. He had been referred to the Nanterre prosecutor’s office the weekend before his death for another refusal-to-comply incident.