The third consecutive night of unrest unfolded in France following the killing of a teenager, leading to widespread incidents including numerous fires, the looting of police vehicles, and the break-ins of stores. Protesters went on to ransack banks, erect barricades, and set cars ablaze in various parts of the country. According to Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, a total of 667 individuals were arrested overnight.
One of the many distressing videos circulating on social media showed a devastating scene of rioters in France setting ablaze the largest public library in the city of Marseille. The footage shows flames engulfing the institution, symbolising the loss of knowledge, culture, and community resources. This act of destruction represents a tragic blow to the city's cultural heritage and a deeply concerning manifestation of the ongoing unrest.
Watch the visuals here:
What sparked the riots?
A major outcry ensued following the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old teenager named Nahel M, who had Algerian and Moroccan heritage, during a traffic stop. The teenager was tragically struck in the chest. The police officer responsible for the shooting has been formally investigated for voluntary homicide, as confirmed by a local prosecutor. Reports from Reuters indicate that the officer will be held in preventive detention, awaiting further legal proceedings.
The public prosecutor stated that the officer's intention was to prevent a potential car chase, fearing harm to himself or others after the teenager purportedly committed multiple traffic violations.
French authorities respond
French President Emmanuel Macron called the young man's death "inexplicable and inexcusable."
Meanwhile, the French Interior Ministry said on Thursday that it is mobilizing 40,000 police officers to deal with riots that have spread across France.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin on Friday denounced what he called a night of "rare violence." His office described the arrests as a sharp increase on previous operations as part of overall government efforts to be "extremely firm" with rioters.
More about the riots
Police detained 667 people, the interior minister said; 307 of those were in the Paris region alone, according to the Paris police headquarters.
Around 200 police officers were injured, according to a national police spokesperson. No information was available about injuries among the rest of the population.
Schools, town halls and police stations were targeted by people setting fires, and police used tear gas, water cannons and dispersion grenades against rioters, the spokesperson told media.