French mayors unite in opposing six days of violent protests

Nanterre mayor Patrick Jarry
Nanterre mayor Patrick Jarry Copyright Nicolas Garriga/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.
By Philip Andrew Churm with AFP
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Mayors across France have held rallies to oppose almost a week of violent protests following the fatal shooting of a teenager by a police officer


Rallies have taken place in front of town halls across France in solidarity with the mayor of L'Haÿ-les-Roses, whose home was attacked during the riots that have shaken the country.

The violence followed the fatal shooting of a young man at a checkpoint in Nanterre. 

The government has battled riots and looting since 17-year-old Nahel M. was shot dead by a police officer during a traffic stop on Tuesday, reviving longstanding accusations of racism against the French police force. 

The mayor of Nanterre, Patrick Jarry, took part in one of the protests in his home town.

"We hope that justice will be done for Nahel and that the appeal by Nahel's family, and in particular his grandmother, to stop the violence and damage will be heard and respected," he said.

Paris has also fallen victim to the wave of attacks and looting included in the riots.

Paris Mayor Annee Hidalgo said: "We have unreservedly condemned the violence and attacks against property and people here, nothing can justify violence."

In L'Haÿ-les-Roses, the town hall is surrounded by barricades and barbed wire.

City halls, police stations, buses, trams, shops and warehouses all became targets in the outburst of anger triggered by the death of young Nahel.

There is multi-million euro destruction, thousands of arrests and numerous injuries. A young firefighter died of a heart attack while putting out an arson attack. The Government insists the violence is under control.

Seeking to quell what has become one of the biggest challenges to President Emmanuel Macron since he took office in 2017, the interior ministry deployed 45,000 police and gendarmes nationwide overnight from Sunday to Monday, the same figure as the previous two nights.

On Sunday night 157 people were arrested nationwide, according to the interior ministry; a fraction of the number taken into custody the night before. 

Three police officers were also wounded.

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