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France prepares for new protests as anger rises over police killing

Violence erupts on second night despite calls for calm

France ordered tens of thousands of police on Thursday to prevent a further escalation of violence after two nights of clashes over the killing of a teenager by police.

In some parts of the country, cars and trash cans were set on fire, and in the suburbs of Paris, clashes and riots occurred, such as tram cars getting off, and about 150 people were arrested nationwide.

France has been hit by protests after Neher M., 17, was shot in the chest at close range in the Paris suburb of Nanterre on Tuesday, reigniting debate over police tactics.

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On Thursday, a prosecutor said it was illegal for a police officer to use a firearm in this situation and said he would appear before a magistrate with a view to prosecuting him for murder.

President Emmanuel Macron called for calm and said the violence of the protests was “unjustified”.

At a crisis meeting of ministers, Macron said the coming hours and afternoon of the Neher memorial march in Nanterre should be marked by “contemplation and respect”.

Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said on Thursday that a total of 40,000 police officers would be deployed across France, more than four times as many as on Wednesday, with 5,000 in Paris alone.

For Mr Macron, who was trying to get through half a year of sometimes violent protests over the controversial pension reform, the riots are deeply worrying.

– “Bullet in the head” –

Nanterre prosecutor Pascal Plache said he was seeking remand of the custody of the 38-year-old police officer who was due to appear before the investigating judge.

The boy died when police tried to stop him for a traffic violation.

A video authenticated by AFP showed two police officers standing by a parked car, one of them pointing a weapon at the driver.

A voice can be heard saying, “I’m going to get a bullet in my head.”

After that, the car suddenly started running, and the police seemed to open fire.

The clashes first occurred when a video was released that contradicted police accounts that the boy was driving towards officers.

On Wednesday night, anger spread to Toulouse, Dijon, Lyon and several towns in the Paris region.

Throughout the night from Wednesday to Thursday, masked demonstrators dressed in black set off fireworks at security forces near the scene of Neher M’s murder.

Dozens of cars and trash cans were set on fire, and a thick column of smoke billowed over the fenced-off area.

The walls of one building had graffiti calling for “justice for Neher” and “killing by the police.”

In Paris, police fired flash grenades and dispersed demonstrators who responded by throwing bottles.

In the southern city of Toulouse, several cars were set on fire and police and firefighters were hurled with projectiles.

At Fresnes, France’s second largest prison facility, protesters attacked security guards at the entrance with fireworks.

About 50 hooded people broke into the Mont-Sambaloule town hall on the northern outskirts of Lille and set it on fire, the mayor told AFP.

“Obviously we have to avoid any escalation,” Prime Minister Elisabeth Born said in a speech in the town north of Paris where the mayor’s office was set on fire.

– “Material for Explosion” –

France has been plagued by fears of a repeat of the 2005 riots that left two African-American boys dead and 6,000 arrested in police pursuits.

“We have all the ingredients to potentially trigger another explosion,” a government adviser told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Right-wing Republican leader Eric Ciotti has called for a state of emergency to be declared to allow local governments to set up exclusion zones, but government officials told AFP that the option was not currently under consideration. Told.

There is growing concern about police tactics, especially against young people of non-white minorities.

Last year, 13 people died for refusing to stop at police traffic checks, and a 2017 law change that gave police officers greater powers to use weapons is now under scrutiny.

“What I see in this video is the execution of a 17-year-old boy by the police in broad daylight in France in 2023,” said Green Party leader Marin Tondelía.

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https://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/latest-news/france-braces-for-protests-after-unforgivable-police-shooting/news-story/453b128c6fc0e8cd6c3360cfa66de2b7 France prepares for new protests as anger rises over police killing

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