Rioting less intense in France overnight, 719 arrested

PARIS: Rioting across France was less intense overnight, as tens of thousands of police were deployed in cities across the country after the funeral of a teenager, whose shooting by police has sparked nationwide unrest, the interior ministry said on Sunday (Jul 2).

The government poured 45,000 police onto the streets to try to keep a lid on potential trouble after the funeral of Nahel, a 17-year-old of Algerian and Moroccan parents, who was shot by a police officer during a traffic stop on Tuesday in the Paris suburb of Nanterre.

Since then rioters have torched cars and public transport and looted stores, but also targeted town halls, police stations and schools – buildings that represent the French state.

The interior ministry said 719 people were arrested on Saturday night, fewer than the 1,311 the previous night and 875 on Thursday night.

“Forty-five thousand police officers and thousands of firefighters have been mobilised to enforce order. Their action … made for a quieter night,” the ministry said on its Twitter account.

The biggest flashpoint overnight was Marseille, where police fired teargas and fought street battles with youths around the city centre late into the night.

China, along with some Western nations, has warned its citizens to be vigilant due to the unrest, which could pose a significant challenge for France in the peak summer tourist season if it were to escalate around city centre landmarks.

China’s Consulate General lodged a formal complaint to France after a bus carrying a Chinese tour group had its windows smashed in on Thursday, leading to minor injuries, China’s Consular Affairs Office said on Sunday.

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