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15 July, 2024
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Paris erupts as protests over police shooting escalate

Another night of unrest with clashes between protesters and police

Source: Sky News

A police officer who fatally shot a 17-year-old boy in a Paris suburb is now being investigated for murder.

The public prosecutor of Nanterre - where the shooting took place and has sparked riots - said the officer had been placed under formal investigation for "voluntary homicide". He remains in custody.

At least 150 people have been arrested in France following a second night of protests over the killing.

The Paris suburb of Nanterre, where the boy was fatally shot following a traffic stop, saw another night of violence on Wednesday as police fired tear gas and protesters threw fireworks at officers and set vehicles ablaze.

Interior minister Gerald Darmanin said on Thursday: "A night of unbearable violence against symbols of the Republic: 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." Rioters also set fire to buildings, while people took to the streets in other areas of the capital as well.

Unrest was also reported in other areas across France, including in the northern cities of Lille and Amiens, along with Dijon in the east and Toulouse in the south.

The Interior Ministry said dozens of police officers were injured during the clashes. Earlier, the government had appealed for calm and said 2,000 police had been mobilized in the capital.

It comes amid accusations of police brutality and growing anger over the youth's death on Tuesday, named in local reports as Nahel M. Those speaking out include French footballer Kylian Mbappe.

The Paris Saint-Germain star, who also captains the French national team and grew up in nearby Saint-Denis, described what happened as an "unacceptable situation".

French President Emmanuel Macron called the shooting "unexplainable and inexcusable" and called for calm.

"Nothing justifies the death of a young person," he told reporters. Prosecutors have claimed the teenager, who was of North African origin, failed to comply with an order to stop his car and that officers feared for their lives after he threatened to run them over, but that is disputed by lawyers for his family.

They cited a video circulating online that shows two police officers leaning into the driver-side window of his yellow car before the vehicle pulls away and an officer opens fire.

The car is later seen crashed into a nearby post.

The boy driving the car was wounded by a gunshot and died at the scene. France's human rights ombudsman has opened an inquiry into the death.

Meanwhile, in a video shared on TikTok, a woman identified as Nael's mother called for a memorial march in Nanterre on Thursday.

"Everyone comes, we will lead a revolt for my son," she said.

His killing was the third fatal shooting during a police traffic stop in France so far this year, down from a record 13 last year, a national police spokesperson said.

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