Police officers push a protester during a demonstration at Place de la Concorde in Paris on June 30, 2023, over the shooting of a teenage driver by French police in a Paris suburb on June 27. (AFP)

French police arrest more than 1,300 people in fourth night of riots

Police officers push a protester during a demonstration at Place de la Concorde in Paris on June 30, 2023, over the shooting of a teenage driver by French police in a Paris suburb on June 27. (AFP)

French police arrested 1,311 people nationwide during a fourth consecutive night of rioting over the killing of a teenager by police, the interior ministry said Saturday.

The country had deployed 45,000 officers overnight, backed by light armored vehicles and crack police units to quell the violence over the death of 17-year-old Nahel, killed during a traffic stop in a Paris suburb on Tuesday.

Rioting raged in cities around France for a fourth night despite massive police deployment, with cars and buildings set ablaze and stores looted, as family and friends prepared Saturday to bury the 17-year-old whose killing by police unleashed the unrest.

The government suggested the violence was beginning to lessen thanks to tougher security measures, but damages remained widespread, from Paris to Marseille and Lyon and French territories overseas, where a 54-year-old died after being hit by a stray bullet in French Guiana.

France’s national football team — including international star Kylian Mbappe, an idol to many young people in the disadvantaged neighborhoods where the anger is rooted — pleaded for an end to the violence.

“Many of us are from working-class neighborhoods, we too share this feeling of pain and sadness” over the killing of 17-year-old Nahel, the players said in a statement. “Violence resolves nothing. … There are other peaceful and constructive ways to express yourself.” They said it’s time for “mourning, dialogue and reconstruction” instead.

The fatal shooting of Nahel, whose last name has not been made public, stirred up long-simmering tensions between police and young people in housing projects who struggle with poverty, unemployment, and racial discrimination.

The subsequent rioting is the worst France has seen in years and puts new pressure on President Emmanuel Macron, who appealed to parents to keep children off the streets and blamed social media for fueling violence.

Family and friends were holding a funeral gathering Saturday for Nahel in his hometown of Nanterre. Anger erupted in the Paris suburb after his death there Tuesday and quickly spread nationwide.

Early Saturday, firefighters in Nanterre extinguished blazes set by protesters that left scorched remains of cars strewn across the streets. In the neighboring suburb Colombes, protesters overturned garbage bins and used them for makeshift barricades.

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