Mayors in France Call for Anti-Violence Rally Amid Riots

July 3, 2023

Riots in France were reportedly calming on Monday, as mayors across the nation’s cities called for rallies outside town halls to protest violence and looting.

Angry demonstrations that included burning cars and buildings broke out last week after an incident Tuesday in which police shot and killed a 17-year-old driver of North African decent named Nahel Merzouk, who was driving without a license, when he sped away during 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.

French President Emmanuel Macron convened a crisis meetings on Thursday after hundreds had already been arrested in the riots. 

On Sunday night, Nahel’s grandmother appealed for calm, saying on television that the protesters “should not damage the schools, not break the buses, it was the moms who take the buses.”

Sunday night reportedly saw violence subside and fewer arrests than previous nights across the country as some 45,000 police and gendarmes were deployed nationwide.

But even so, a 24-year-old firefighter was killed while while he tried to douse several flaming cars in an underground car park in Seine-Saint-Denis, north of Paris, according to Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin.

Macron is set to meet Tuesday with the mayors of 220 municipal areas in France that have been affected by the violence.

PHOTO Source: Toufik-de-Planoise

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