Heavy Riots in France after police kills Arab teenager
The fatal shooting of a teenager by police near Paris has sparked outrage in France and further afield. Witness videos show the 17-year-old Nahel being shot by a police officer at close range during a traffic stop.
French President Emmanuel Macron has described the incident as “inexcusable” and a police officer has been preliminarily charged with voluntary homocide.
The streets of Nahel’s hometown on the outskirts of Paris were full of mourners on Thursday, many of them dressed in white. As people descended on Nanterre to pay their respects to the teenager, sirens rang through the air and the mood was tense, with a heavy police presence.
“We live in a country where we aren’t safe. When we go outside we could die at any moment,” one protester told DW. “We live in France which is supposed to mean ‘liberty, equality, fraternity,’ but that doesn’t exist anymore. Now the police make the rules and do what they want. If they decide to kill someone, they just do it,” he said.
“I’m so sorry for his family,” another local resident said. “He was so young — just seventeen — with his whole life ahead of him.”
“Justice For Nahel” protest in Nanterre, France”Justice For Nahel” protest in Nanterre, France
Protesters carried signs demanding “Justice for Nahel” at a march in his hometown on ThursdayImage: Michel Euler/AP Photo/picture alliance
The march followed two nights of violent unrest, during which some 150 people were arrested after schools, town halls and police stations were vandalized across the country.
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin told reporters 170 police officers were injured in clashes and praised their response: “They were very professional in very difficult conditions and I would like to reiterate my support for them, my confidence in them and tell them that I am, of course, by their side,” he said on Thursday.