Funeral of teen killed in France held, authorities deploy thousands again

NANTERRE, France (AP) – Hundreds of mourners from France’s Islamic community led a procession from a mosque to a mountain cemetery on Saturday for the burial of a 17-year-old boy whose police killing sparked days of rioting. There were more looting across the country.

Underlining the seriousness of the crisis, President Emmanuel Macron canceled an official visit to Germany after nights of unrest across France.

The government deployed 45,000 police to city streets across the country to deal with a fifth night of violence. Overnight, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin tweeted that the night had been calmer than the previous night due to “the determined action of the security forces”. He put the number of arrests during the night at 427.

Altogether nearly 2,800 people have been arrested since the death of the teen on Tuesday. Darmanin tweeted late Saturday that 200 riot police had been deployed in the port city of Marseille, where TV showed footage of police using tear gas as night fell.

Near the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, hundreds of police with batons and shields stood restlessly on the Champs-Élysées, many in front of closed Cartier boutiques. Posts on social media called for a protest on Grand Boulevard, but the police presence appeared to discourage any large gatherings.

Earlier in the day, hundreds of people lined the street to pay their respects at a hilltop cemetery in the Paris suburb of Nanterre where the teenager, Nahel, was killed. Mourners carried his white coffin From Masjid to Graveyard. Journalists were barred from the ceremony and in some cases were even banished. Some people took away the prayer rugs folded.

“Men first,” an officer told dozens of women waiting to enter the cemetery. But Nahel’s mother, dressed in white, went inside to applause and went to the tomb. Many of the men were young and Arab or black, coming to mourn the boy who could have been theirs.

Inside the cemetery gate, the coffin was lifted above the crowd and carried toward the grave. The men followed, some holding the hands of the little boys. Some wiped their eyes as they left. Police was nowhere to be seen.

The unrest was taking a toll on Macron’s diplomatic profile. The office of German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Macron called on Saturday to request the postponement of the first state visit by a French president to Germany in 23 years. Macron was scheduled to fly to Germany on Sunday evening to visit Berlin and two other German cities.

Macron’s office said he spoke to Steinmeier and, “Given the internal security situation, the President (Macron) said he wished to be in France in the coming days.”

Nahel was shot during a traffic stop. The video shows two officers standing at the window of the car, one of whom points a gun at the driver. As the teen sped away, the officer fired a single shot through the windshield. This week, Nahel’s mother told France 5 television that she was angry at the officer who shot her son, but not at police in general.

He said, “He saw a small child who looked like an Arab, he wanted to kill him.”

Nahel’s family has roots in Algeria.

the race was one taboo subject for decades In France, which is officially committed to the principle of color-blind universalism. Critics say the theory has hidden generations of systemic racism.

officer Nahel’s murder charge A preliminary charge of voluntary manslaughter was given, meaning the investigating magistrates suspected wrongdoing, but further investigation needed to be done before the matter could be sent to trial. Nanterre prosecutor Pascal Prache said that his preliminary investigation had led him to conclude that the officer’s use of his weapon was not legally justified.

Hundreds of police and firefighters have been injured in the violence that followed the murder. Officials have not released the number of injuries to protesters. in French Guiana, an overseas territory, a 54 year old man died After being hit by a stray bullet.

The reaction to the killing was a powerful reminder of the persistent poverty, discrimination, unemployment and other lack of opportunities in areas around France, where many residents trace their roots to former French colonies – such as where Nahel grew up.

“The story of Nahel is that of the lighter that ignited the gas. Frustrated youth were waiting for this. We lack housing and jobs, and when we do have (jobs), our wages are very low,” said Samba Seck, a 39-year-old transport worker in the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois.

Clichy was the birthplace of weeks of rioting that rocked France in 2005, after two teenagers were electrocuted in an electricity substation while fleeing police. One of the boys lived in the same housing project as Sec.

Like many Clichy residents, he mourned the violence targeting his town, where the remains of a burnt-out car stood beneath his apartment building, and the town hall entrance torched in riots this week Went.

“Young people break everything, but we are already poor, we have nothing,” he said, “young people are afraid of dying at the hands of the police.”

Despite the growing crisis, Macron holds off on declaring a state of emergencyAn option used in 2005. but the government Speed ​​up your law enforcement responseWith massive deployment of police officers, some of whom were recalled from vacations.

France’s justice minister, Dupond-Moretti, warned on Saturday that youths who share calls for violence on Snapchat or other apps could face prosecution. Macron has Social media blamed for fueling violence,

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire promised government aid for shop owners.

He said, “Without order, without general rules there is no nation.”

Darmanin has ordered the night-time closure of all public buses and trams across the country, which have been targets of the rioters. he also said warned social networks Do not allow yourself to be used as a medium for calls for violence.

The violence comes just a year before Paris and other French cities host Olympic athletes and millions of visitors summer OlympicsThe organizers of which were closely monitoring the situation while continuing the preparations for the competition.

Last year, thirteen people were shot dead by French police for not obeying a traffic stop. This year, including Nahel, three more people died under similar circumstances. The deaths have prompted calls for more accountability in France, which has also seen racial justice protests murder of george floyd By the police in Minnesota.


Charlton reported from Paris. Associated Press writer Jade Le Dele in Clichy-sous-Bois, France; Claire Rush in Portland, Oregon; Jocelyn Noveck in New York and Geir Moulsen in Berlin contributed to this report.

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