Young rioters clashed with police and looted stores Friday in a fourth day of violence in France triggered by the deadly police shooting of a teen, piling more pressure on President Emmanuel Macron after he appealed to parents to keep children off the streets and blamed social media for fueling unrest. Police said 270 people had been arrested by midnight nationwide. Follow our liveblog for all the latest developments. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).
- The 17-year-old victim, identified only as Nahel M., was shot at point-blank range by a police officer on Tuesday morning in the Paris suburb of Nanterre. He was driving a yellow Mercedes when he was pulled over for traffic violations.
- Police initially reported that he was shot after driving his car at police, but this was contradicted by a video that rapidly went viral across social media and was later authenticated by AFP. The footage shows the two policemen standing by the stationary car, with one pointing a weapon at the driver. A voice is heard saying, “You are going to get a bullet in the head.” The police officer then appears to fire as the car abruptly drives off before gradually coming to a stop.
- The incident has sparked four nights of violent unrest in the capital and cities across France that have seen protesters clash with police.
- French President Emmanuel Macron called on parents to keep their children off the streets on Friday, saying some young people appeared to be copying violent video games which had “intoxicated” them. Addressing a crisis meeting of ministers, he said “additional means” would be mobilised by the interior ministry to deal with the violent protests, denouncing the “unacceptable exploitation of the death of an adolescent”.
01:15am: 270 arrests made by midnight Friday
French Interior Minister says 270 people arrested Friday evening, 80 of them in Marseille.
12:30am: Stores ransacked in Montpellier in Southwest France
Several hundred people in Montpellier defied the government order not to protest.
Police fired tear gas at protesters in Place de la Comedie and sent them running towards the local government building. Several stores had their windows smashed, including an Orange cellphone store and a Swarovski shop. Police made arrests.
12:00am: French football legend Mbappe calls for peaceful protests, condemns violence after police shooting of teenager
Kylian Mbappe posted this tweet saying that whilst he supports protests the violence must end:
“Like all French people, we were taken aback and shocked by the brutal death of young Nahel. First of all, our thoughts go out to him and his family to whom we extend our sincere condolences.
Of course, we cannot remain insensitive to the circumstances in which this unacceptable death took place.
Since this tragic event, we have witnessed the expression of popular anger whose substance we understand, but whose form we cannot endorse. Many of us come from working-class neighbourhoods and we share these feelings of pain and sadness. But to this suffering is added that of assisting powerless to a real process of self-destruction. Violence solves nothing, even less when it inevitably and tirelessly turns against those who express it, their families, loved ones and neighbours.
It is your property that you are destroying, your neighbourhoods, your council estates, your places of fulfillment and proximity.
In this context of extreme tension, we cannot remain silent and our civic conscience should make us call for appeasement, awareness and accountability. That of social actors, parents, older or younger brothers and sisters in our neighbourhoods, who must work to restore peace to our council estates. The “living together” which we hold dear is in danger, and it is our responsibility to preserve it.
There are other peaceful and constructive ways to express yourself. That is where we should focus our energy and our thoughts.
The time of violence must end to make way for that of mourning, dialogue and reconstruction.”
10:54pm: Rioters loot gun store in central Marseille, steal rifles, police say
French rioters looted a gun store in the centre of Marseille, France’s second city, and took away some hunting rifles but no ammunition, Marseille police said on Friday.
One individual was arrested with a rifle likely coming from the gun store, police said. The store is now being guarded by police.
One person in possession of a handgun was reportedly arrested.
10:30pm: Man dies after falling from building during riots in northern France – authorities
A young man died on Friday after falling from the roof of a supermarket in the suburbs of the northern French city of Rouen during overnight riots, local authorities said.
A police source told Reuters on Friday the man had fallen from the roof as the supermarket in the suburb of Petit-Quevilly in the Bruyeres shopping centre, was being looted by rioters.
The public prosecution office earlier told BFM TV that, based on the ongoing investigation, it was not established the store had been subject to a looting attempt.
Reuters could not verify the two accounts. The prosecution office could not immediately be reached for comment.
10:17pm: Clashes in central Marseille; 49 people arrested
Police in Marseille announced 49 arrests at around 10pm among small, highly mobile groups near the center of the city, some of whom were “attempting to loot” several thoroughfares. Two police officers were slightly injured.
9:44pm: Geneva public transport stops at French border
Switzerland‘s second-biggest city, in the east of the country, is surrounded by France on three sides. Many of its public transport lines run across the border into dormitory towns on the other side.
A statement on the website of Geneva public transport operator TPG said the decision had been made in response to the French restrictions on public transport this evening.
“We recommend that our customers who travel by public transport on cross-border lines plan their trips and consult the traffic information on our site and our apps.”
Some lines were stopping at the border while three cross-border routes were stopped altogether.
9:22pm: Paris police move to clear protesters from central Place de la Concorde
Police started clearing protesters from the iconic central Paris square of Place de la Concorde on Friday evening after an impromptu demonstration started amid nationwide unrest following the fatal shooting of a teenager by police.
“Clearing operation is ongoing on Place de la Concorde,” police said in a statement.
9:18 pm: Clashes in Lyon, looting in Grenoble reported
Clashes broke out this evening between demonstrators and the police in front of the Hotel de Ville in Lyon, at the start of a rally against police violence that had been banned by the Rhone prefecture.
At the same time, in the centre of Grenoble, shopfronts were smashed and shops looted by hooded youths, as observed by an AFP journalist.
In Lyon, despite the ban, the crowd swelled to 1,300 by 8pm, according to the prefecture. The police responded with tear gas to fireworks mortars fired by hooded demonstrators, AFP journalists observed on site.
9:03pm: ‘They warned us to leave’: FRANCE 24’s Catherine Norris Trent reports from the scene in Nanterre
“It feels like the calm before the storm,” FRANCE 24’s Catherine Norris Trent reports from Nanterre, the Paris suburb where 17-year-old Nahel M. was killed by a police officer on Tuesday. She notes the presence of “quite a few” police officers stationed throughout the streets there and the relative quiet for the moment despite bands of young men driving by shouting insults and warnings about violence to come. She also notes that flowers have been laid for Nahel at the site of his killing.
8:55pm: Jean-Luc Melenchon calls for the protection of schools, libraries, gymnasiums, as well as “common property”
The leader of France’s left-wing political party France Unbowed (La France Insoumise), Jean-Luc Melenchon, called on “the youngest, especially … not to touch” schools, libraries or gymnasiums following three nights of rioting following the death of Nahel M.
“[We] have never been in favour of violence,” the former presidential candidate insisted in a video released on social networks. “The school must not be touched, the library, the gymnasium, everything that belongs to us all, our shared property”.
8:32pm: France to deploy 45,000 police to suppress riots on Friday night, says Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin
45,000 police and gendarmerie officers will be deployed throughout the country on Friday evening, France’s Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin told TF1 television, as the country braces for more violence on the streets following the killing of a 17-year old by a police officer earlier this week.
6:49pm: Man dies after jumping from building during France riots
A young man who jumped out of a building when a supermarket on its floor ground was hit by riots last night has died, BFM TV reported on Friday, citing the public prosecution office in Rouen, northern France.
6:30pm: A ‘repetitive cycle, with a depressing sense of deja-vu’: FRANCE 24’s Leela Jacinto talks about the crisis
FRANCE 24’s Leela Jacinto talks about the current crisis in France and the repetitive cycle of police violence.
5:15pm: France rejects UN accusation of police ‘racism’
“Any accusation of racism or systemic discrimination in the police force in France is totally unfounded,” the foreign ministry said.
4:55pm: France says gendarmes to use armoured vehicles against riots
The French gendarmerie will use armoured vehicles to suppress riots, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said Friday, after three nights of violence following the deadly shooting of a teenager during a traffic stop.
“Additional mobile forces” would be deployed along with the vehicles belonging to France’s gendarmerie, Borne said, also announcing the cancellation of “large-scale events binding personnel and potentially posing risks to public order”.
4:34pm: ‘Perpetual lack of opportunity’ in France’s poorer suburbs
Poverty, lack of jobs and lack of opportunities are problems that have plagued many of the poorer suburbs surrounding Paris and other French cities for decades despite efforts to improve conditions by multiple French presidents, says FRANCE 24’s international affairs commentator Douglas Herbert, following a third night of violence triggered by the police shooting of a teen in the Paris suburb of Nanterre.
4:12pm: France says to restrict public transport, fireworks sales
France‘s interior ministry said that bus and tram services would be halted nationwide at 9pm from Friday and sales of large fireworks would be banned, under measures intended to tamp down on violent protests.
The statement said that regional prefects, who are in charge of security around the country, would also be asked to ban the sale and transport of petrol cans, acids and other inflammable liquids.
2:46pm: Macron says social media platforms should help tame violence amid riots
“Social media platforms play a significant role in the events of the past few days”, Macron said in televised remarks from a government emergency meeting.
Citing TikTok and Snapchat, he said social media help rioters organise themselves but also contributed to “mimicking” behaviour by some young people, who repeated what they saw online and lost track of reality.
“It sometimes feels like some of them re-live in the streets the video games that have intoxicated them,” he said.
2:32pm: Macron calls on parents to keep teen rioters off the streets
French President Emmanuel Macron called on parents to keep teen rioters off the streets on Friday, adding that around a third of the 875 people arrested overnight for rioting were “young, or very young”.
“It’s the responsibility of parents to keep them at home,” he told reporters after chairing a crisis security meeting. “It’s not the state’s job to act in their place,” he added.
2:19pm: UK warns citizens travelling to France about unrest
The UK on Friday updated its official travel advice to warn citizens planning to visit France about unrest sparked by a police officer’s killing of a teenage.
“Since 27 June, riots have taken place across France. Locations and timing of riots are unpredictable. You should monitor the media, avoid areas where riots are taking place,” said the latest advice issued by the foreign ministry.
2:11pm: Macron speaks after three nights of violence
French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday said that additional security forces would be deployed to contain nationwide unrest in the wake of the killing of a teenaged driver, Nahel M., by police.
Addressing a crisis meeting of ministers, he said “additional means” would be mobilised by the interior ministry to deal with the violent protests, denouncing the “unacceptable exploitation of a death of an adolescent”.
He also called on parents to keep their kids off the streets during the riots and on social media outlets to remove “sensitive” rioting content.
1:33pm: Paris to halt bus, tram services daily from 9:00pm, says transport authority
Bus and tram services in the Paris region will stop at 9:00pm each evening until further notice, the IDFM regional transport authority said Friday, after three nights of violent protests over a teenager’s fatal shooting by police.
The early shutdown was “for the safety of our workers and passengers”, IDFM said following attacks on transport and public infrastructure during the violence.
1:15pm: 875 people arrested during overnight protests in France, interior ministry says
A total of 875 people were arrested on Thursday night during the third night of violent protests in France, the interior ministry has said.
A total of 492 buildings were damaged, 2,000 vehicles were burned and 3,880 fires were started, according to figures given by President Emmanuel Macron at the start of a crisis meeting on Friday.
1:12pm: French city of Marseille bans protests this Friday after latest violence in France
Marseille, France’s second-largest city, has decided to ban public demonstrations this Friday after last night’s violence in France, local authorities said.
All public transport in Marseille will also stop from 7pm local time today.
12:55pm: Residents in Nanterre expect ‘more of the same’ to come after third night of violent protests
The epicentre of three days of unrest in France is Nanterre, the suburb west of Paris where 17-year-old Nahel M. lived, and where he was fatally shot by police on Tuesday.
After successive nights of nationwide violence sparked by the incident, residents in Nanterre are braced for “more of the same” to come over the weekend, says FRANCE 24’s Mark Owen, reporting from the suburb.
11:31am: Paris transport disrupted after 12 buses destroyed in protests
Public transport in Paris was disrupted on Friday after protesters angered by the killing of a teenager by police destroyed a dozen buses in a depot in the north of the French capital overnight.
There was “very significant damage” but no one was hurt as the buses were torched after Molotov cocktails were hurled into the depot in Aubervilliers north of the centre of Paris, the RATP transport authority said.
On Friday morning some 23 bus lines out of a total of 350 in the city were not working while two tram lines were completely closed and others offered partial service or had major delays, operator RATP said.
The metro has largely continued working without problem.
Services were resuming “bit by bit, based on the state of the routes and the local security situation”, the RATP said.
“Traffic on the bus and tram networks will be very severely disrupted today,” it said on Twitter.
11:27am: UN says France must address ‘deep racism’ in law enforcement
The United Nations rights office said on Friday it was concerned by the fatal shooting of a teenager by police that has sparked unrest across France.
“This is a moment for the country to seriously address the deep issues of racism and racial discrimination in law enforcement,” spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani said.
“We also emphasize the importance of peaceful assembly. We call on the authorities to ensure use of force by police to address violent elements in demonstrations always respects the principles of legality, necessity, proportionality, non-discrimination, precaution and accountability.”
11:24am: ‘All options’ to restore order under consideration, says French PM
French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said Friday that the government was considering “all options” to restore order, including declaring a state of emergency, after a third night of unrest across the country.
Asked by reporters if a state of emergency was being considered, as some right-wing opposition parties have demanded, she replied: “I won’t tell you now, but we are looking at all options, with one priority: restoring order throughout the country.”
11:22am: Macron leaves EU summit to return to riot-hit France
President Emmanuel Macron left early from an EU summit in Brussels on Friday to return to France, where three nights of unrest over the police shooting of a teenager have taken place.
Macron cancelled a media conference scheduled for the second and last day of the summit to go back to Paris. He made no comment to reporters as he left.
9:51am: French PM holds ministerial meeting on riots
Ahead of an emergency afternoon meeting, which President Emmanuel Macron will return from a Brussels EU summit to attend, the government was “getting an update on the violence and abuses overnight”, Borne wrote on Twitter, posting pictures with figures including Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin and Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti.
8:57am: Looting of businesses, shops seen during third night of violent unrest over fatal police shooting of teen
The “rioting has escalated”, FRANCE 24’s international affairs editor Angela Diffley said, following the third night of violent protests in France over the fatal police shooting of 17-year-old Nahel M.
“It appears to be morphing into something closer to general rioting. We saw a huge amount of looting and pillaging of ordinary businesses and some high-end shops,” Diffley said.
8:41am: 249 police officers and gendarmes injured on third night of unrest, interior ministry says
Two hundred and forty-nine police officers and gendarmes were injured on Thursday night amid protests that erupted for the third consecutive night in France, the interior ministry announced.
7:49am: Public buildings, shopping centre target of attacks
Public buildings were the target of violence throughout France on Thursday night, with a police station in the Pyrenees city of Pau hit with a Molotov cocktail, according to regional authorities, and an elementary school and a district office set on fire in Lille.
In the city centre of Marseille, a library was vandalised, according to local officials, and scuffles broke out nearby when police used tear gas to disperse a group of 100 to 150 people who allegedly tried to set up barricades.
Multiple public buildings were also targeted in Seine-Saint-Denis, in the Paris metro area, according to a police source.
In the suburb of Drancy, rioters used a truck to force open the entrance to a shopping centre, which was then partly looted and burned, a police source said.
Firefighters in the northern municipality of Roubaix, meanwhile, dashed from blaze to blaze throughout the night, with a hotel near the train station also catching fire, sending its dozen or so residents fleeing into the streets.
In Nanterre, the epicentre of the unrest, tensions rose around midnight, with fireworks and explosives set off in the Pablo Picasso district, where Nahel M., the teenager who was fatally shot by a police officer on Tuesday, had lived.
7:45am: 667 people arrested during third night of unrest, interior minister says
A total of 667 people were arrested overnight in France, said Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, amid protests that erupted for the third consecutive night over the deadly police shooting of 17-year-old Nahel M that took place in the Paris suburb of Nanterre on Tuesday.
7:12am: Macron to hold new crisis meeting over France violence
President Emmanuel Macron will hold a new crisis meeting on Friday, his office said, after a third straight night of violence in France following the fatal police shooting of a 17-year-old Nahel M.
Macron will cut short a trip to Brussels, where he is attending a European Union summit, to chair the 1:00pm (1100 GMT) meeting, the second in as many days over the violence, the Elysee said.
4:05am: 421 people arrested nationwide, according to Le Figaro
According to Le Figaro newspaper, there have been 421 arrests so far nationwide, more than half of them in the Paris region with the majority between 14 and 18 years old.
3:10am: France engulfed in a third night of riots with unrest across major cities including Paris, Marseille, Lyon, Toulouse and Lille.
Forty thousand police officers were deployed across France – nearly four times the number mobilised on Wednesday – but there were few signs that government appeals to de-escalate the violence would quell the widespread anger.
In Nanterre, the working-class town on the western outskirts of Paris where 17-year-old Nahel M. was shot dead on Tuesday, protesters torched cars, barricaded streets and hurled projectiles at police following a peaceful vigil. Protesters scrawled “Vengeance for Nahel” across buildings and as night set a bank was lit on fire before firefighters put it out and an elite police unit deployed an armoured vehicle.
In central Paris, a Nike shoe store was broken into, 14 people were arrested, and 16 more were arrested with stolen objects after store windows were smashed along the rue de Rivoli shopping street, Paris police said.
National police said on Thursday night that officers faced new incidents in Marseille, Lyon, Pau, Toulouse and Lille, including fires and fireworks.
Videos on social media showed numerous fires across the country, including at a bus depot in a suburb north of Paris and a tram in the eastern city of Lyon.
In Marseille, France’s second city, police fired tear gas grenades during clashes with youths in the tourist hotspot of Le Vieux Port, the city’s main paper La Provence reported.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, Reuters and AP)