VFour days after the death of 17-year-old Nahel during a police check near Paris, friends and relatives said goodbye to him on Saturday. According to the daily newspaper “Le Parisien”, a funeral service began around noon in the mosque in Nanterre near Paris. The family had wished that no press should attend the funeral service and the subsequent burial. The youth’s death sparked riots across the country.
“Le Parisien” reported that around noon a white coffin was laid out in the mosque. A security zone was set up around the building, to which only selected people had access. The newspaper Le Figaro wrote that hundreds of people attended the funeral ceremonies. The teenager was stopped on Tuesday in Nanterre at the wheel of a car by a motorcycle patrol. When the young man suddenly drove off, a fatal shot fell from a police officer’s service weapon. The officials had initially stated that the young people had wanted to run over them.
“Night of Chaos with Scenes of Unprecedented Violence”
It was only when video images of the incident, verified by the media, spread on social networks that they moved away from this portrayal and the alleged intention to kill the young person. The police officer blamed for his death has been taken into custody. A formal investigation into manslaughter was initiated against him.
The incident triggered a wave of violence in France. For the fourth night in a row, there were riots with hundreds of arrests, looting and arson attacks from Friday to Saturday, despite the massive presence of armored vehicles and helicopters. According to media reports, an armory was looted in Marseille. Seven guns were stolen.
The police union Alliance Police spoke on the television channel franceinfo of a “night full of chaos with scenes of unprecedented violence against the police, looting, mortar fire.” A post office in Lyon exploded. City halls were torched across the country. Over 1,300 people were arrested, the Interior Ministry counted 2,560 fires on public roads, 1,350 burnt-out cars and attacks on 31 police stations. According to the information, 45,000 police officers were on duty nationwide during the night.
Macron’s visit to Germany canceled
There has been speculation for days as to whether French President Emmanuel Macron can really come to Germany for a state visit given the unrest in his country. In a phone call with Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Macron canceled the visit on Saturday afternoon. The Office of the Federal President announced that the trip planned from Sunday to Tuesday should be made up for as soon as possible. The Élysée Palace in Paris also confirmed the cancellation
Macron informed Steinmeier on the phone about the situation in France and asked him to postpone the state visit, the Office of the Federal President said. Steinmeier regretted the cancellation, but I fully understand the situation in the neighboring country. The Federal President follows the development with great attention. He hopes “that the violence on the streets will end as soon as possible and that social peace can be restored,” said Steinmeier.
It would have been the first state visit by a French president to Germany in 23 years. From the point of view of the Office of the Federal President, the Franco-German friendship should be celebrated and a new chapter opened at the same time. Both sides have been trying for some time to move closer together again. A few weeks ago, Macron was the first head of state to visit Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) at his place of residence in Potsdam.
But now foreign policy has to wait and Macron has to take care of domestic politics again. According to a report by the BFMTV television station, he wanted to meet with various mayors on Saturday to discuss the situation. Some local politicians had called for curfews and police reinforcements.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said in a press conference that these will be in the cities of Lyon and Marseille. In addition, local authorities across the country banned demonstrations and ordered public transport to be closed in the evening.
In Paris, the Place de la Concorde was cleared after social media called for protests in the capital’s main square.