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At least 150 arrests in violent protests over France police killing


At least 150 arrests in violent protests over France police killing


olice have arrested 150 people across France during a second night of rioting and arson attacks following the fatal shooting of a teenager by a police officer.

Town halls and schools were among the buildings targeted on Wednesday night in what Gerald Darmanin, France’s Interior Minister, called “a night of unbearable violence against symbols of the republic”.

In a tweet he said: “Town halls, schools and police stations set on fire or attacked. 150 arrests.

“Support for the police, gendarmes and firefighters who face up with courage. Shame on those who did not call for calm.”

An extra 2000 police were on the streets following the shooting of Nahel M, a 17-year-old from a French Algerian background who was killed on Tuesday morning.

Video footage showed a traffic police officer shouting “I’m going to lodge a bullet in your head,” before shooting from point blank range.

Nahel was sitting at the wheel of a Mercedes AMG at the time, and died a few minutes later.

The 38-year-old officer, who has not been named, is in custody and faces a murder charge in connection with the attack in the Paris suburb of Nanterre.

But this did not stop crowds of youths going on the rampage in cities across France, including Lille and Toulouse, as well as the capital.

Many of the worst fires were caused by Molotov cocktails and firework rockets being aimed at buildings.

Police fired flash-balls to disperse protesters who were burning rubbish in northern Paris, and the crowd responded by throwing bottles.

Buses and trams were among the vehicles burned out by mobs, along with blocks of flats.

The entrance to Fresnes prison, south of Paris, was burned out, while videos showed police station windows being smashed before rows of police cars were put set ablaze.

Cars ablaze in Nanterre

/ AP

President Emmanuel Macron called for calm, saying: “We have an adolescent that was killed, it is unexplainable and inexcusable. Nothing justifies the death of a young man.”

Nahel’s mother, who asked not to be named, said: “I lost a 17-year-old, I was alone with him, and they took my baby away from me. He was still a child, he needed his mother.”

And his grandmother, who also remained unidentified, said: “I will never forgive them.

“My grandson died, they killed my grandson. We are not happy at all, I am against the government.”

A lawyer for Nahel’s family, Yassine Bouzrou, told The Associated Press they want the police officer prosecuted for murder instead of manslaughter.

French activists have renewed calls to tackle what they see as systemic police abuse in low socio-economic neighbourhoods.

Government officials condemned the killing and sought to distance themselves from the police officer’s actions.

Asked about police abuses, Mr Macron said justice should be allowed to run its course.

Bouquets of orange and yellow roses now mark the site of the shooting, on Nanterre’s Nelson Mandela Square.

Speaking to Parliament, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said: “The shocking images broadcast yesterday show an intervention that appears clearly not to comply with the rules of engagement of our police forces.”

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