…By Gift BADEWO for TDPel Media.
A wave of unrest has swept across France, following the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old by a police officer, resulting in widespread rioting and arson attacks.
This unrest led to the arrest of 150 individuals during the second night of upheaval.
A Night of Unbearable Violence
Several public buildings, including town halls and schools, fell prey to the rioters’ ire on Wednesday night.
France’s Interior Minister, Gerald Darmanin, condemned these acts of aggression against symbols of the republic.
In a public statement, he voiced his support for the public service personnel facing these adversities and expressed disappointment with those who did not advocate for calm.
Increased Police Deployment
In response to the escalation, an additional 2000 police officers were dispatched following the Tuesday morning shooting of Nahel M, a French Algerian teenager.
A shocking video footage emerged showing a traffic police officer threatening the teenager with a fatal shot, which he eventually executed from a point-blank range.
Nahel was inside a Mercedes AMG at the time and died shortly after the incident.
Unrest Spreads Across France
The arrest of the involved 38-year-old officer, who currently faces a murder charge, did not quell the public’s outrage.
Violent demonstrations spread to various French cities including Lille, Toulouse, and the capital, Paris.
Rioters used Molotov cocktails and firework rockets to set ablaze several structures, while police used flash-balls to disperse crowds.
Public transportation vehicles and apartment buildings were among the casualties of these fires.
An Appeal for Calm
Amid the escalating tension, French President Emmanuel Macron called for calm, expressing remorse for the death of the young man and asserting that nothing can justify it.
The slain teenager’s family members expressed their heartache and anger, with the mother grieving over the loss of her ‘baby’ and the grandmother vowing never to forgive.
Demands for Justice
The family’s lawyer, Yassine Bouzrou, relayed their request for the police officer to be tried for murder, rather than manslaughter.
Activists across France have seized this moment to renew calls for addressing perceived systemic police abuses in socio-economically disadvantaged neighborhoods.