Violent protests across France continued into a fourth night on Friday, following the fatal police shooting of a 17-year-old male in Nanterre, on the outskirts of Paris. Video of the incident showed police threatening the victim, identified as a French national of Algerian and Moroccan descent named Nahel M., and then shooting him at close range during a traffic stop.
That’s prompted the Algerian government to issue a statement expressing concern over a case it says it is watching closely. The foreign affairs ministry called the incident brutal, tragic and shocking.
The shooting sparked clashes in and around Nanterre shortly after it occurred on Tuesday night. By Wednesday, there were 31 arrests but that number swelled to more than 800 through Thursday night. Increasingly violent protests were reported throughout France, including Paris and Marseille. News outlets reported additional protests occurred in neighboring Belgium.
The violence comes ahead of a funeral service for Nahel, set for Saturday.
French authorities have shut down public transportation networks in hopes of stopping the violence, while President Emmanuel Macron and other officials urged families to keep children at home and off the streets. Some towns have imposed overnight curfews.
Damage reports from France 24, the BBC and other media outlets showed burned-out vehicles in Bordeaux and smashed business windows in Paris. Thousands of fires were set ablaze across the country, according to Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin. Locations included police stations, town halls, schools, and sports facilities.
An investigation into the officer’s conduct is under way, with a formal charge of homicide lodged on Thursday.
Image: Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo