France has rioted for the fifth time over the police killing of a teenager

PARIS (AP) – Clashes erupted early Sunday in France between young rioters and police who used a burning car to attack the home of a mayor, injuring members of his family Police killing of a teenager. Overall, however, the violence seemed to have subsided compared to previous nights.

The police arrested another 719 people, bringing the total number of detainees to over 3,000 after a mass security operation The aim was to quell France’s worst social upheaval in years.

The crisis posed a new challenge for President Emmanuel Macron’s leadership, revealing deep-seated dissatisfaction in low-income neighborhoods over discrimination and a lack of opportunity.

The 17-year-old, whose death sparked fury on Tuesday, was rested on Saturday at a Muslim ceremony in Nanterre, a Paris suburb where emotions over his loss are still running high.

The teenager’s grandmother, who was publicly identified only by his first name Nahel, called for an end to the violence that followed his death on Sunday.

As night fell on Saturday, a small crowd gathered on the Champs-Élysées to protest but was met by hundreds of officers with batons and shields guarding the avenue and its boutiques. In a less chic Paris neighborhood, protesters set off firecrackers and set fire to barricades while police fired back with tear gas and stun grenades.

A burning car has engulfed the mayor’s house in the Parisian suburb of L’Hay-les-Roses. Several schools, police stations, city halls and businesses have been the victims of fire or vandalism in recent days, but such a personal attack on a mayor’s home is unusual.

Mayor Vincent Jeanbrun said his wife and one of his children were injured in the 1:30 a.m. attack while they slept and that he observed the violence at City Hall. Jeanbrun of the conservative opposition Republican party said the attack represented a new level of “horror and shame” in the unrest.

Regional prosecutor Stéphane Hardouin launched an inquiry into attempted murder, telling French TV that a preliminary investigation suggests the car was intended to ram the house and set it on fire. He said fire accelerant was found in a bottle in the car.

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, along with Home Secretary Gerald Darmanin and other officials, traveled to l’Hay-les-Roses to meet Jeanbrun and promised that “we will do everything we can to restore order as soon as possible.”

Macron planned to hold a special security meeting with Borne, Darmanin and the Attorney General on Sunday evening.

A graffiti reads "Justice for Nahel" on a wall Sunday July 2, 2023 in the Paris suburb of Nanterre. A monument commemorating Holocaust victims and members of the French resistance during World War II in Nanterre was still defaced with graffiti on Sunday after it was vandalized on the sidelines of a silent march honoring Nahel on Thursday. Among other things, vandals painted slogans against the police "Police scum from Saint-Soline to Nanterre," "Don't forget and don't forgive" And "Police, rapists, assassins" (AP Photo/Cara Anna)
A graffiti reading ‘Justice for Nahel’ on a wall on Sunday, July 2, 2023, in the Paris suburb of Nanterre. A monument commemorating Holocaust victims and members of the French resistance during World War II in Nanterre was still defaced with graffiti on Sunday after it was vandalized on the sidelines of a silent march honoring Nahel on Thursday. Vandals painted anti-police slogans including “Police scum from Saint-Soline to Nanterre,” “Don’t forget or forgive,” and “Police, rapists, assassins” (AP Photo/Cara Anna)

According to the Interior Ministry, fighting broke out in the Mediterranean city of Marseille, but it looked less intense than the night before.

Nationwide, there were fewer arrests than the night before. Darmanin attributed this to “the determined action of the security forces”.

The mass police deployment was welcomed by some frightened residents of the targeted neighborhoods and shopkeepers whose stores were looted, but added frustration to those who see the police behavior as at the heart of the crisis.

Nahel’s grandmother, identified only as Nadia, said in a phone interview with French news channel BFM TV on Sunday: “People who break things, I tell them: stop, stop.”

“Don’t break windows, no buses… no schools. We want to calm things down,” she added.

She said she was angry with the officer who killed her grandson but not with the police in general. “Thank God the police are here,” she said.

The unrest prompted Macron to postpone the first state visit by a French president to Germany in 23 years until Sunday evening.

Hundreds of police officers and firefighters were injured in the violence, but the authorities did not provide information on the number of protesters. In French Guiana, an overseas territory, a 54-year-old died after being hit by a stray bullet.

Macron has accused social media of fueling violence. France’s Minister of Justice has warned young people about it Share calls for violence on Snapchat or other apps could be prosecuted.

While concerts at the National Stadium and smaller events across the country have been canceled due to the violence and some neighborhoods suffered serious damage, life in other parts of France went on as usual.

In the capital, tourists flocked to the Eiffel Tower, where workers set up a nearby clock counting down to next year Olympic Games in Paris. Just a short walk from Nanterre on Sunday was a busy shopping center with customers from all walks of life. Families who could afford it headed off for summer vacation.

Hundreds of mourners lined a road leading to a hilltop cemetery in Nanterre on Saturday to honor Nahel his white coffin was carried From a mosque to his grave. His mother, dressed in white, entered the cemetery to applause.

Many of the men were young and Arab or black and came to mourn a boy who could have been them. Nahel’s family has roots in Algeria.

Video of the murder showed two officers at the window of the car, one pointing a gun at the driver. As the teenager drove forward, the officer fired once through the windshield. The official accused of killing Nahel was provisionally charged with premeditated homicide.

Thirteen people who flouted traffic stops were fatally shot by French police last year and three this year, prompting calls for more accountability. In France, too, there were protests against police violence and racial injustice The killing of George Floyd by the Minnesota Police Department.

The reaction to the murder was a powerful reminder of it persistent poverty, discrimination n and limited job prospects in neighborhoods around France, many of which have roots in former French colonies.

In a public square in Nanterre, a young man of Senegalese descent said France would learn little from the recent unrest. Faiez Njai said of the police: “They play on our fears and say, ‘If you don’t listen to us'” – and then he pointed his finger at his temple and shot.

In 2005, France was rocked by weeks of unrest sparked by the deaths of two teenagers who were electrocuted at a substation in the Parisian suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois while fleeing police. Several buildings were set on fire there this week – including the town hall, a high school, a library and a supermarket.

At the foot of a bridge near the Eiffel Tower where generations of couples have padlocked to symbolize lasting love, a Senegalese man selling cheap locks and keys shook his head when asked if Nahel’s assassination and the subsequent violence would change anything.

“I doubt it,” he said, using only his first name, Demba, for fear of retribution. “The discrimination is too deep.”

A World War II memorial in Nanterre commemorating Holocaust victims and members of the French resistance, which was vandalized on Thursday on the sidelines of a silent march honoring Nahel, was still covered on Sunday with slogans such as “police scum”, “forgive me.” Don’t forget “defaced” and “police, rapists, assassins”.

The European Jewish Congress condemned the vandalism as a “shameful act of disregard for the memory of the victims of the Holocaust”.

Anna reported from Nanterre. Jade le Deley in Clichy-sous-Bois, France; Angela Charlton in Paris; Jocelyn Noveck in New York; and Helena Alves in Paris contributed to this.

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