French President Emmanuel Macron will be chairing a crisis meeting of ministers following a third consecutive night of nationwide protests over the fatal police shooting of a teenager. The protests have seen cars set on fire, shops looted, and hundreds of arrests made.
The unrest occurred after a march held on Thursday to honor the 17-year-old victim, identified by his first name, Nahel. His tragic death has reignited long-standing concerns about policing and racial profiling in France’s economically disadvantaged and multicultural suburbs.
President Macron, who was attending a European Union summit in Brussels, will be cutting short his trip to preside over the crisis meeting on the violence. This is the second emergency meeting held in response to the protests within two days.
Approximately 40,000 police officers and gendarmes, including elite Raid and GIGN units, were deployed in several cities overnight. Curfews were imposed in various municipalities around Paris, and bans on public gatherings were enforced in Lille and Tourcoing in the northern part of the country.
Despite the extensive security presence, instances of violence and property damage were reported in multiple areas. Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin stated that a total of 667 people were arrested during a night of “unusual violence.”
The Ministry of Interior also reported that 249 police officers and gendarmes sustained injuries, though none were deemed serious.
According to police sources, the night was characterized by looting of shops, including flagship branches of Nike and Zara in Paris, rather than direct clashes between protesters and law enforcement.