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Hundreds more arrested on fifth night of French riots

Riots also broke out in French overseas territories, such as the island of La Reunion in the Indian Ocean.

The French government said on Sunday that hundreds more were arrested on the fifth night of the riots sparked by the police killing of a 17-year-old, and police sent reinforcements to flashpoint cities across the country. .

Protesters, mostly minors, have exploded in anger, setting cars on fire and destroying infrastructure since police shot dead Neher M. at point-blank range as he tried to flee a traffic stop on Tuesday. and clashed with the police.

The killing was captured on video and went viral on social media, fueling outrage over police violence against minorities and exposing deep racial tensions in France.

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A day after Neher was buried in his hometown near Paris, the interior ministry said the number of police arrests had risen to 719 overnight, up from about 1,300 the night before, although this was still a preliminary figure. be.

About 45 police or gendarmes were injured, 577 vehicles were set on fire, 74 buildings were set on fire, and 871 fires broke out in roads and other public spaces, it said.

More than 20 police stations and gendarmerie barracks were also attacked, the ministry said.

Nationwide figures suggest an overall drop in tensions nationwide, but police are still recording a large number of incidents.

– “Fear and Humiliation” –

The mayor of a town south of Paris said a mob had rammed a car into his home, injuring his wife and one child and starting a fire.

“Fear and humiliation reached a new level last night,” Mayor Vincent Jeanblanc said.

Prime Minister Elizabeth Born denounced the attack as “unbearable” but said prosecutors would treat it as an attempted murder.

Around 45,000 police were deployed across France, the same number as the night before, with back-ups dispatched to the night’s hot spots, including Lyon, Grenoble and Marseille.

Of those, 7,000 are concentrated in Paris and its suburbs, including along the Champs-Élysées, a tourist hotspot in central Paris, where social media calls for rioting in the capital’s centre.

Interior Minister Gerard Darmanin said the large police presence helped curb the violence.

He tweeted early Sunday morning that “the night was calm thanks to the decisive action of the security forces.”

In Marseille, where violent clashes and looting have occurred, police dispersed a group of young people on the boulevard Canebières, which runs through the center of the city, on Saturday evening, an AFP reporter said.

“They came specifically to damage, loot and leave,” said Youssef Betahal, owner of the Merlin shopping mall in Marseille. “We’re really sick of what’s going on right now.”

Many towns have imposed curfews.

The protests pose a new crisis for President Emmanuel Macron, who wanted to put off months of protests that erupted in January over raising the retirement age and pursue a second mission. .

In a way that shows the seriousness of the situation in France, the state visit to Germany scheduled from Sunday has been postponed.

Macron will lead a crisis meeting with government officials on Sunday, according to the Elysée newspaper.

– ‘Reflection’ –

Nahel’s funeral was held in Nanterre, where he lived, on Saturday, where hundreds of people peacefully gathered together with his mother and grandmother.

Witnesses told AFP that the incident ended “without incident” with “reflections”.

In a bid to limit the ongoing violence, France has banned buses and trams from operating after 9 p.m., and banned the sale of large fireworks and flammable liquids.

Marseille has suspended all urban traffic from 6pm.

Macron has called on parents to take responsibility for minor rioters, a third of whom were “young or very young”.

Justice Minister Eric Dupont Moretti said on Saturday that 30 percent of those arrested were minors, but Dalmanin said the average age of those arrested was just 17.

With France hosting the Rugby World Cup in the fall and the Paris Olympics in the summer of 2024, the riots have also caused concern abroad.

Britain and other European countries have updated their travel advisories, warning tourists to stay away from riot-affected areas.

Iran called on France on Sunday to “stop violence against its people” and urged its own citizens to avoid non-essential travel to France.

The Chinese consulate general in Marseille likewise warned its citizens to be “vigilant and careful” after state media reported that a bus carrying Chinese tourists had been hit by a rock in the southern city.

Culture and entertainment are in turmoil, with singer Mylène Farmer canceling a stadium concert and French fashion brand Celine canceling a menswear show in Paris.

A 38-year-old police officer has been charged with voluntary murder and is being detained in connection with Nehel’s death.

The United Nations Office for Human Rights said on Friday that the murder of a North African teenage boy was “time for the country to take seriously the serious problem of racism and racism in law enforcement”.

France’s foreign ministry said any allegations of systematic discrimination within the police were “absolutely baseless”.


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https://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/latest-news/france-deploys-45000-police-to-quell-unacceptable-riots/news-story/df87765bd9bd5d58b47421156fea63de Hundreds more arrested on fifth night of French riots

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