This is a pattern in France. When police act to enforce the law, violent riots (largely Muslim) break out. A similar incident took place in 2005, which set off an intense wave of violence and car burnings. This attrition and low grade civil war ebbs and flows, but it has remained a consistent terror of French life.
Police arrested at least 12 people during a second night of protests in the French city of Nantes. Demonstrators attacked riot police on Wednesday night, with the violence lasting through the night in the districts of Breil and Garges-les-Gonesse, among others.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, who was in Nantes on Thursday, condemned the violence. He also tweeted that “above all, it hurts the development of these districts and darkens the prospects of their residents.”
The protests followed the death of a 22-year-old man, identified by local media as Aboubakar F., who was fatally shot in Breil during a stop-and-search operation.
Democrats are fighting to bring this to our streets.
#France: Molotovs, barricades, cars torched, a shopping centre was set alight and a library and several buildings were damaged in #Breil district of #Nantes, after a 22-year-old unarmed man was shot dead by police during a check. Against police brutality and state repression. pic.twitter.com/eY17QFFkHg
— th1an1 (@th1an1) July 4, 2018
France in FLAMES: Police shooting sparks riot chaos – Youths BURN city with petrol bombs
RIOTS in France are expected to escalate tonight after youths in Nantes set fire to a shopping centre and threw molotov cocktails at police yesterday following anger over a fatal shooting
By Oli Smith, The Express, July 5, 2018:
Riot police have swarmed the French city of Nantes after a wave of violent youth demonstrations saw cars and shopping centres set ablaze.
Young people from the poorest housing estates in the city have reacted in outrage to the death of a driver at hands of police officers.
The French national and regional governments are struggling to defuse the situation, despite promising a full in-depth investigation into the incident.
A 22-year-old man identified publcly as Aboubakar F was shot dead after his car had been stopped for an identity check.
Local eyewitnesses to the shooting have contradicted the police account, which claimed that the driver had tried to run them down.
In response to the death, two days of unrest have ripped through the picturesque city in western France.
Footage of the violence last night shows protesters throwing Molotov cocktails at police officers.
The youths have also torched at least three vehicles, a shopping centre and a library during clashes with police.
This morning, police reinforcements were deployed to Nantes to safeguard the city, amid fears the riots will intensify.
The full circumstances in which the 22-year-old driver died on Tuesday are being investigated by police.
Johanna Rolland, the Socialist mayor of Nantes, said any investigation must take place independently and with full transparency.
Police disperse crowd during tense Paris protest
I’m appealing for absolute calm, as the rule of law will be completely respected
Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet
According to the police, the victim was pulled over during the roadside check but his identity was “not clear and officers received orders to bring the driver to the police station”.
However, the driver refused to comply with orders, tried to reverse his car “at a very high speed” and had hit another officer.
In reaction, another police officer shot the man, who later died of his wounds.
Local police chief Jean-Christophe Bertrand said the victim’s vehicle had been under surveillance as part of a drug-trafficking investigation.
He also claimed that an arrest warrant had been issued for the man last year on suspicion that he was involved in organised robbery.
In response to the death, two days of unrest have ripped through the city in western France
However, one witness denied this account, telling French media that the car was stationary when the shot was fired.
They told BFMTV: “It was already stationary. He couldn’t do anything. The policeman came up and shot him at point-blank range.”
Another witnesses told Europe 1 Radio: “There was no policeman behind his car when he reversed. All he was trying to do was avoid being checked by the police.”
Pierre Sennes, the Nantes chief prosecutor, said police were investigating “the facts and in what circumstances the police officer used his weapon.”
Local MP Valerie Oppelt tweeted: “Nantes was the scene of violence last night. I appeal for calm. An investigation is under way to learn the circumstances of this tragedy.
“My thoughts go out to the residents of the Breil neighborhood.”
France’s Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet said: “I’m appealing for absolute calm, as the rule of law will be completely respected.”
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