France experienced its fifth night of civil unrest following the death of a young man. Despite the deployment of 45,000 police and military forces, several cities experienced violent outbreaks.
T ensions remain high in France following the burial of Nahel, a young man whose death sparked nationwide riots. Despite a strong police presence, several cities have witnessed violent outbursts.
During a visit to a police station in Dreux, in northern France, Interior Minister, Gérald Darmanin, announced that reinforcements would be sent to Lyon, Marseille, and Grenoble, cities particularly affected by the unrest.
“Tonight, we are renewing the exceptional police operation launched yesterday: 45,000 police officers and military police in the streets of France, including 7,000 in Paris and the inner suburbs.”
Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne spent most of the night at the National Police command centre, overseeing operations to maintain order.
She also shared some photos of her visit on social media.
“Tonight, 45,000 police officers and military police and thousands of firefighters are mobilised to protect and guarantee the republican order.
“In the face of violence, they show exemplary courage.
“I came to reaffirm my full support and that of my government.”
As the evening began, incidents erupted in Marseille’s Canebière district. Attempts at looting and clashes between youths and law enforcement occurred. Tear gas was fired by police at the Old Port to disperse a group of individuals.
Bars were hastily closed after several bars and tobacco shops were entirely looted in some districts. Groups also attempted to gather near shopping centres in both the deprived northern districts and the wealthier southern areas of the city. Firefighters reported a few instances of rubbish fires in the city centre and north.
The mayor of Nice condemned the looting of a shop in the city centre. In Nîmes, cars were stoned.
“A group of young people looted a shop in the city centre. They were quickly arrested by the police with the help of video surveillance. Their parents will have to take responsibility: you will pay for the damage and theft.”
Urban violence continued to disrupt several other cities in France. In Rennes, clashes broke out between police and rioters, with bins set ablaze and mortar fires reported upon the arrival of law enforcement.
In Paris, authorities deployed riot police around the bustling tourist areas of Place de la Concorde and Champs-Élysées. Groups of young people, dressed predominantly in black, were observed by police as they gathered in front of shops.
According to the latest figures from the Interior Ministry, France has seen a total of 719 arrests related to the riots. The majority of these arrests were for possession of objects that could potentially be used as weapons or projectiles.
The Paris Police Prefecture conducted 375 police checks in and around the Champs-Élysées area. Of the total arrests, 162 were made in Paris and its suburbs. Meanwhile, 56 arrests were reported in Marseille and 21 in Lyon.
There were also:
- 45 police officers were injured during the riots
- A total of 871 fires were reported
- 577 cars were burnt in the chaos
- 74 buildings suffered varying degrees of damage
▪ Text: This piece was first published in PMP Magazine on 2 July 2023.
▪ Cover: Bing. (Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.)