France deployed 45,000 police officers and several vehicles on the streets on Saturday following a fourth consecutive night of riots in French cities sparked by the fatal shooting of a teenager by a police officer at a traffic stop.
The violence, which saw buildings and cars set on fire, as well as looting and vandalism of some stores, has put President Emmanuel Macron in his biggest crisis since the “Yellow Vest” protests that erupted in 2018.
The disturbances broke out across the country in cities such as Marseille, Lyon, Toulouse, Strasbourg, and Lille, in addition to Paris, where Nael M. (17 years old), of Algerian origin, was killed by police gunfire on Tuesday in the suburb of Nanterre.
His death, captured on camera, has reignited long-standing complaints from low-income individuals, mixed-race communities, and urban areas that the police engage in violence and racism.
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin stated that 270 people were arrested on Friday night, bringing the total number to over 1,100 since the start of the unrest.
The arrests on Friday night included 80 individuals in the southern city of Marseille, France’s second-largest city.
Social media images showed an explosion shaking the area of the old port in Marseille. City authorities said they were investigating the cause but did not believe there were any injuries or casualties.
Police reported that rioters in central Marseille looted a firearms store and stole some hunting rifles but without ammunition. They added that they arrested an individual found in possession of a rifle that may have been looted from the store, which is now under police guard.