French President Emmanuel Macron convened a crisis meeting Thursday morning amid protests over the fatal police shooting of a teenager who was driving without a license.
At least 180 people have been arrested so far, after protesters burned cars and buildings, and some 40,000 officers were expected to be deployed throughout France on Thursday—an increase from 9,000 on Wednesday night.
A 17-year-old driver named Nahel, or Nael, was reportedly driving without a license on Tuesday when he sped from police undertaking a traffic stop in Nanterre, a Paris suburb.
A social media video posting of the shooting of the teenager, who was of North African origin, almost instantly sparked the protests, particularly in ethnically diverse areas of Paris and elsewhere.
According to Pascal Prache, Nanterre’s top prosecutor, the officer who fired the fatal shot told investigators he feared that he or his colleague would be injured if the car sped way.
Apparently unconvinced, Prache said he was seeking to charge the officer with “voluntary homicide.”
On Wednesday, Marcon said the shooting was unforgiveable while he has also condemned the violent protests.
“The last few hours have been marked by scenes of violence against police stations but also schools and town halls, and thus institutions of the Republic and these scenes are wholly unjustifiable,” Macron said at the opening of the crisis meeting.
The French government has rebuffed requests from some politicians to declare a state of emergency in the areas where the protests have been most volatile.
“We are not in those circumstances,” said French Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne.