The grandmother of slain teenager appeals for end to riots in Francethat erupted in the aftermath of his death, as French authorities gear up for a sixth night of rioting. The 17-year-old boy was fatally shot by a police officer in a Paris suburb.
Victim Nahel Merzouk's grandmother appealed to protesters on Sunday, making her statement on a news outlet.
“The people who are breaking things right now, I tell them: stop it,” the woman identified as Nadia by French media told BFMTV on Sunday.
“They used Nahel as an excuse,” she added.
The cars have done nothing against you, the schools have done nothing against you, the buses have done nothing against you. Do not damage the schools, do not damage the buses, it’s the moms who take the buses.- Nadia, Nahel Merzouk's grandmother
In response to the recent outbreak of violent public unrest, the French government has announced that over 45,000 police officers and gendarmes will be deployed across France on Sunday night. The majority of individuals who have been detained since the protests began on Tuesday are minors, with an average age of 17 years old, according to Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin.
As of Sunday, the situation in France has been relatively calm compared to the previous day, with only sporadic protests being reported. However, based on reports from CNN producers in France, it is anticipated that violence may escalate after sunset.
To stay updated on the nationwide protests, French President Emmanuel Macron will convene a meeting at 7 p.m. local time (1 p.m. ET) with the prime minister, interior minister, and justice minister, as stated by the Elysee Palace.
Early on Sunday morning, the mayor of a Paris suburb reported that his residence had been targeted in an attack, describing it as "an assassination attempt" against his family.
According to Mayor Vincent Jeanbrun of L’Haÿ-les-Roses statement:
At 1:30 a.m., while I was at the city hall like the past three nights, individuals rammed their car upon my residence before setting fire to it to burn my house, inside which my wife and my two young children slept. While trying to protect the children and escape the attackers, my wife and one of my children were injured.- Vincent Jeanbrun of L’Haÿ-les-Roses
Jeanbrun expressed his profound emotions regarding the horrifying incident that took place at his residence. He conveyed his gratitude to the police and rescue services for their assistance in responding to the situation. According to the Créteil prosecutor's office, the incident has been classified as an "attempted murder," as stated by prosecutor Stéphane Hardouin during a press briefing on Sunday.
According to Stéphane Hardouin, the prosecutor of Créteil, the initial findings of the police investigation indicate that a flaming car was deliberately launched with the intention of setting fire to Jeanbrun's residence. The incident occurred at approximately 1:30 am local time, with the vehicle entering Jeanbrun's property.
“Hitting a low wall, the vehicle stopped before it could reach the veranda of the house. Only the front gate was hit, along with the family’s vehicle,” the prosecutor said in a news conference outside the mayor’s home.
According to the prosecutor, the mayor's wife and their two children, aged 5 and 7, managed to escape through the backyard. However, during their escape, the mayor's wife injured her shin, which the prosecutor believes to be broken.
In addition, Hardouin revealed that forensic investigators discovered a fire accelerant inside a bottle of Coke. The specific substance used as the accelerant was not disclosed by him.
“Every effort will be made to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice,” the prosecutor concluded.
France has experienced a series of protests in the aftermath of the tragic death of Nahel, a 17-year-old of Algerian descent, who was shot by a police officer in Nanterre earlier this week. The teenager's funeral was held on Saturday at a mosque in a Paris suburb, where a significant security presence was observed.
The incident has sparked renewed discussions on policing within France's marginalized communities and has raised concerns about whether race played a role in the fatal shooting.
Several vehicles on fire as firefighters try to put them off
Surprisingly, a GoFundMe campaign created to support the family of the police officer accused of shooting the teenager has amassed nearly €650,000 ($710,000) as of Sunday afternoon.
The GoFundMe page was initiated by a far-right TV pundit. The page asserts that the police officer was simply performing his duty and is now facing severe consequences as a result.
As stated earlier in the week by the prosecutor of Nanterre, the police officer involved in the incident has been charged with voluntary homicide and is currently in preliminary detention.
In contrast, a separate crowdfunding page has been established to support Nahel's mother, which has gathered over €97,000 ($105,000) as of now. The page emphasizes that Nahel's tragic passing has left his mother devastated, as he was her only son. The funds collected aim to provide her with the necessary support to navigate the forthcoming legal proceedings.
Despite the deployment of security forces and riot police throughout France by the government, the unrest persisted, leading to another night of protests on Saturday. According to the Interior Ministry's preliminary count, over 700 individuals were detained across the country overnight.
Additionally, 45 police officers and gendarmes sustained injuries, while 74 buildings, including 26 police and gendarmes stations, were damaged. Shockingly, 577 vehicles were set on fire during the night. The preceding night saw even more significant numbers, with over 1,300 people detained and 2,560 fires reported on public roads.
In response to an incident in Marseille, China has issued a warning to its citizens in France, urging them to stay vigilant. The incident involved a bus carrying a Chinese tour group, which had its windows smashed, resulting in multiple minor injuries, according to a statement from China's foreign ministry on Sunday.
China's Consulate General in Marseille has lodged a formal complaint and appealed to French authorities to take necessary measures to ensure the safety of Chinese citizens and protect their property during this period of unrest.
The ministry did not specify the date of the incident or provide details regarding the number of people injured. However, it mentioned that all the tourists in the group have since departed from France.