France: “The Champs Élysées are closed, go home!”


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Ffrance does not rest even in the fifth night after the death of a teenager by a police bullet. While the situation in some cities was apparently less tense than in the previous nights, riots broke out again, especially in Paris, Marseille and Lyon. At least 427 people have been arrested nationwide, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin wrote on Twitter early Sunday morning.

The famous Parisian shopping street Champs Élysées was cleared by a large police force using tear gas, as “Le Figaro” reported. According to the French media, the police called on a crowd on a side street to go home: “The Champs Élysées are closed, go home!” A journalist reported on barricades that had been set up near the Champs Élysées. A photo showed a car lying on its roof.

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Interior Minister Darmanin wrote that despite all this, the night was a quieter one “thanks to the determined action of the law enforcement agencies”. Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne praised the forces: In view of the violence, they showed exemplary courage, she wrote on Twitter. 45,000 police officers and thousands of firefighters were deployed to protect order.

The situation in Marseille is tense but under control, the city administration said. Groups formed throughout the evening to cause damage, said the Bouches-du-Rhône prefecture, according to “Le Parisien”. The police tried to disperse the people with tear gas. However, the riots were not as bad as the day before.

Police officers talk to a youth on the Champs Élysées

Which: dpa/Christophe Ena

Meetings on the boulevard were dissolved

Meetings on the boulevard were dissolved


The police presence had been massively increased in Marseille, Lyon and Grenoble in particular. After an armory was looted in Marseille the day before, the police were there with armored vehicles, helicopters and special troops.

In Nice, young people looted a shop in the city center, the mayor reported on Twitter. They were arrested by the police. “Your parents will have to take responsibility,” the tweet said. In general, however, the situation in Nice is “under control”, as the prefecture of the department announced.

Demonstrators ram the mayor’s house with his car

During the protests, demonstrators drove a car into a mayor’s house in a Paris suburb. Rioters rammed the house with their car on Sunday night and then set it on fire, said Vincent Jeanbrun, mayor of L’Haÿ-les-Roses near Paris, on Twitter.

His wife and one of his two children were “injured,” Jeanbrun wrote. He was at the town hall of the city south of Paris during the incident.

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After the funeral march for the dead Nahel M. on Thursday, cars burn in the Paris suburb of Nanterre (above).  There are also riots in other cities such as Roubaix (left) or Reims in northern France (below), in which shops and other buildings are destroyed

The riots were triggered by the death of a youth at the hands of a police officer a few days ago. The 17-year-old was stopped at the wheel of a car by a motorcycle patrol in Nanterre on Tuesday. When the young man suddenly drove off, a deadly shot was fired from a police officer’s service weapon. The officials had initially stated that the young people had wanted to run over them.

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 manslaughter investigation was launched against him.

The incident triggered a wave of violence in France. Early on Saturday morning, after another night of violence, Interior Minister Darmanin said it was “less intense” than before. However, the numbers he presented were not very reassuring: 1,311 arrests – significantly more than in the previous nights – 406 of them in Paris alone, and 79 police officers injured.

Several concerts and fashion shows have been cancelled

The young man was buried on Saturday afternoon in his hometown of Nanterre near Paris. Observers had previously feared that the funeral could pour fuel on the fire again. But in Nanterre, according to “Le Parisien”, it was quiet until midnight. Because of the unrest, President Macron had his planned state visit to Germany cancelled. It would have been the first state visit by a French president to Germany in 23 years.

Several concerts, fashion shows and other cultural events were also canceled in France. Buses and trams currently only run during the day, and the sale and carrying of fireworks and flammable substances have been banned. However, the government has not yet declared a national emergency, and curfews have only been imposed in small towns.

The Federal Foreign Office updated its travel and safety information on Saturday in view of the riots. Travelers were asked to inform themselves about the respective situation and to avoid large areas of violent riots. In addition, depending on the travel destination, significant restrictions should be taken into account when planning the program, especially in the evening and at night. The Foreign Office pointed out that there had been violent riots in some districts and suburbs of Paris and in other larger cities in France. Some cities have imposed night curfews between 9 p.m. or 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. This often only applies to minors under the age of 16.

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