Paris protests spread to Switzerland and Belgium: Demonstrators chant ‘Justice for Nahel’ in Brussels and throw Molotov cocktails in Lausanne as anger over death of teen, 17, shot dead continues – while Emmanuel Macron holds emergency meeting
- Clashes between police and rioters using Molotov Cocktails in Lausanne
- There have also been arrests in Brussels following similar disturbances
- READ MORE: French mayor whose home was raided consoled by local residents
Riots sparked by the death of a teenager in Paris who was shot dead by police during a traffic stop has spread to cities in Switzerland and Belgium.
Anger is mounting over the alleged ‘execution’ of Nahel Merzouk, 17, who was of Algerian and Moroccan descent, in a Paris suburb – with five days of unrest seen across France.
Clashes have broken out between police and protesters in the Swiss city of Lausanne in the early hours of Sunday, where Molotov cocktails were used, bricks thrown at police and shop windows smashed.
‘Echoing the events and riots raging in France, more than a hundred youths gathered in central Lausanne and damaged businesses,’ said a Lausanne police statement.
There have also been arrests in Brussels following similar disturbances, with rioters in Brussel chanting ‘Justice for Nahel’.
There were clashes between police and rioters in the Swiss city of Lausanne (pictured) in the early hours of Sunday, where Molotov Cocktails were used and shop windows smashed
Hundreds of thousands of protesters are so incensed by the killing of Nahel Merzouk (pictured), a 17-year-old from an Algerian and Moroccan background, in a Paris suburb that they have taken to the streets
It was the fifth consecutive night of disturbances since Mr Merzouk’s death, and there were fears of sixth on Sunday night.
Macron held a government emergency meeting Sunday night, but it is unclear whether he will make public comments.
After the riots in Lausanne, seven people – aged 15-17 and one aged 24 – were arrested last night, according to Swiss newspaper reports.
The Nahel’s grandmother said today she wanted the nationwide rioting triggered by his killing to end.
She said the rioters were using Nahel’s death last Tuesday as an excuse to cause havoc and that the family wanted calm.
‘I’m telling them [the rioters] to stop,’ the grandmother, identified as Nadia by French media, told BFM TV.
‘Don’t break windows, buses … schools. We want to calm things down.
‘Echoing the events and riots raging in France, more than a hundred youths gathered in central Lausanne and damaged businesses,’ said a Lausanne police statement. Several videos were posted on social media showing the riots in Lausanne
Macron (pictured) held a government emergency meeting Sunday night, but it is unclear whether he will make public comments
Police in Lausanne were seen chasing protesters last night after the Paris riots reached Switzerland
Riot police forces secure the area in front of the Arc de Triomphe on Saturday night as protests continue in Paris
She added: ‘Nahel is dead. My daughter is lost … she doesn’t have a life anymore.’
Asked about a crowdfunding campaign that had received pledges of more than £575,000 (670,000€) for the police officer charged with voluntary homicide over the shooting, Nadia said: ‘My heart aches.’
17-year-old Nahel (pictured) was shot dead by French police during a traffic stop, Tuesday
She said she was angry at the officer who killed her grandson but not at the police in general and expressed faith in the justice system as France faces its worst social upheaval in years.
Another relative, who wants to stay anonymous, told the BBC: ‘We didn’t ask to break or steal. All of this is not for Nahel.’
The relative added that the teenagers family hopes for peaceful protests in the streets, where people could show their anger and demonstrate ‘without outbursts’.
They added that the French government must change the law which currently allows police officers to shoot during traffic stops and called for better training for police.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s office said Macron phoned Saturday to request a postponement of what would have been the first state visit by a French president to Germany in 23 years. Macron had been scheduled to fly to Germany on Sunday.
Firefighters works to extinguish a burning car during the fifth day of protests
One of Nahel’s relatives said the French government (pictured at Sunday’s emergency meeting) must change the law which currently allows police officers to shoot during traffic stops and called for better training for police
Police made 719 arrests nationwide by early Sunday after a mass security deployment amid the fifth day of protests. Demonstrators are pictured in Paris overnight
Riot police secure the area outside the Arc de triomphe as rioters assembled in Paris on Saturday night
French President Emmanuel Macron, center, French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, left, and Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire attend a government emergency meeting at the emergency crisis center of the Interior Ministry in Paris today
Firefighters are among the first responders who took to the streets overnight as rioters demonstrated across France
Protestors flee from an exploding firework on a street in Nice, south-eastern France in the early hours of Sunday
A French firefighter works to extinguish a burning car during the fifth day of protests following the death of Nahel Merzouk
French soldiers, part of the national security plan ‘Vigipirate’, keep watch as they secure the area near the Arc de Triomphe on Sunday after a night of clashes in Paris
Some 45,000 extra police have been placed on the streets, but this did not stop further trouble in cities and towns from Paris to Marseille.
Nationwide arrests were somewhat lower than the night before, which Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin attributed to ‘the resolute action of security forces.’ Some 2,800 people have been detained overall since Merzouk’s death.
Mass police deployment has been welcomed by some frightened residents of targeted neighbourhoods and shop-owners whose stores have been ransacked – but it has further frustrated those who see police behaviour as the core of France’s current crisis.
The worst disorder overnight on Saturday to Sunday was in Marseille, where police fired tear gas and fought street battles with youths around the city centre late into the night.
Demonstrators run as French police officers use tear gas in Paris early this morning
Firefighters works to extinguish a burning car during the fifth day of protests
Mayor Vincent Jeanbrun claimed protesters had ‘rammed a car’ into his home before ‘setting a fire’ while his family slept. Following the attack, he vowed to ‘not back down’ and said his ‘determination to protect and serve the Republic is greater than ever’
The regional prosecutor opened an investigation into attempted murder, saying a preliminary investigation suggests the car was meant to ram Mayor Vincent Jeanbrun’s house and set it ablaze. Jeanbrun is pictured at the city hall in L’Hay-les-Roses on Sunday
Two policemen were set upon by a mob in Marseille, and ‘beaten to the ground like dogs,’ said French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin.
One was stabbed repeatedly, and the other suffered a fractured jaw, Mr Darmanin said.
The officer responsible for shooting Mr Merzouk – identified as Florian M., 38 – remains on remand having been charged with murder.
Disturbances in France have included raiders setting fire to a car and driving it into the home of a French mayor in an ‘attempt to kill his family’.
The attack in the early house of Sunday on Vincent Jeanbrun’s home in the Paris suburb of L’Hay-les-Roses came as 719 people were arrested in France.
Mr Jeanbrun said his wife and one of his children were injured in the ram-raid, which he believed was attempted murder.
Rioters rammed a burning car into the home of Vincent Jeanbrun, who is the mayor of the town of L’Hay-les-Roses, around 1.30am Sunday. A police officer is pictured standing in front of the home on Sunday after the attack
L’Hay-les-Roses mayor Vincent Jeanbrun, whose home was ram-raided and set alight while his wife and children were asleep, is hugged at city hall on Sunday
French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne walks with the Mayor of L’Hay-les-Roses, Vincent Jeanbrun, on Sunday during a visit in L’Hay-les-Roses, after rioters rammed a vehicle into his house overnight
He said: ‘Last night, a milestone was reached in horror and ignominy. My home was attacked and my family was the victim of an assassination attempt.
‘At 1:30 a.m., while I was at the town hall, as for the past three nights, individuals launched a car at my home before setting it on fire, so as to set fire to my house, in which my wife was sleeping and my two young children.
‘All of this was skillfully orchestrated, without consideration for the lives inside the house.’
The mayor said his priority today is to ‘take care of my family’ but added: ‘My determination to protect and serve the Republic is greater than ever.’
Jeanbrun, who is the mayor of the town of L’Hay-les-Roses, slammed the riots on Sunday after his family’s home was targeted in the latest demonstration.
A girl ducks down as she walks past police officers preparing to disperse protesters with tear gas during a demonstration against police in Marseille on Saturday
A burning motorbike is seen in Paris during the fifth day of protests
‘Last night a milestone was reached in horror and disgrace,’ he wrote. ‘My wife and one of my children were injured.
‘It was an attempted murder of unspeakable cowardice.’
The protesters targeted his home around 1.30am while he was at City Hall and his wife was home with their two children, according to his statement which has been translated from French.
Jeanbrun said he does not have ‘words strong enough’ to describe his emotions following the ‘horror’ of the attack.
He said: ‘The only way to make what is unacceptable bearable is that all this did not happen for nothing.’
A man runs from the smoke of tear gas during clashes between riot police forces and protesters near the Arc de triomphe on Saturday night
Clashes occur between rioters and police in Paris on Sunday amid a fifth day of protests
Several schools, police stations, town halls and stores have been targeted by fires or vandalism in recent days but such a personal attack on a mayor’s home is unusual.
Among those calling for calm over the weekend was France and Paris St Germain football star Kylian Mbappé, who said ‘the violence must end’.
A leaked police intelligence report in France has meanwhile described officers as being ‘at war with savage hordes of vermin’.
Two police unions threatened a revolt unless Emmanuel Macron’s government restored order.
‘Today the police are in combat because we are at war,’ says the report. ‘Tomorrow we will enter resistance and the government should be aware of.’
French soldiers stand guard near the Arc de Triomphe on Sunday
Tourists take pictures as they visit the Arc de Triomphe on Sunday amid tight security after a night of clashes in Paris
Armed French soldiers keep watch as they secure the area near the Arc de Triomphe on Sunday following violent overnight protests
Life in some parts of France went on as usual. In the capital, tourists thronged to the Eiffel Tower, where workers set up a nearby clock counting down to next year’s Paris Olympics.
A short walk from Nanterre, a shopping mall bustled Sunday with customers from all walks of life. But in the empty square where Nahel was shot, someone had painted ‘The police kill’ on a bench.
At the foot of a bridge near the Eiffel Tower where generations of couples have attached padlocks to symbolize lasting love, a Senegalese man selling cheap locks and keys shook his head when asked if Nahel’s killing and the ensuing violence would change anything.
‘I doubt it,’ he said, giving only his first name, Demba, for fear of retaliation. ‘The discrimination is too profound.’
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