Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Violent riots in France this past weekend

France riots

Published 3 July 2023
- By Editorial Staff
Firefighters try to extinguish fires caused by the riots.

A police action in which a young migrant was shot after a car chase in the Paris suburb of Nanterre over the weekend ignited the most widespread and violent riots France has seen in modern times.

Car fires, clashes and looting have rocked the country – where even the home of the Mayor of Paris was rammed with a burning car, injuring his family, alongside around 500 police officers injured in the rampage.

Last week, a 17-year-old Algerian migrant youth was stopped by police after a car chase. During the traffic stop, the police drew their weapons and told him to turn off the engine. While the exact sequence of events is not yet clear, footage of the incident circulated on social media shows the police shooting as the car starts to move forward, before accelerating and crashing in a nearby location.


The age limit for a driving license in France, as in Sweden, is 18 years. The young man did not have a driving license, but the co-passenger said that they had nevertheless been allowed to borrow the car, which had Polish license plates. According to his account, the driver was deliberately given contradictory messages by the police during the traffic stop so that they would have a reason to shoot him, and claims that the car drove off because one of the police officers first hit him with the plunger and that he then accidentally drove off.

The police officer in question was arrested shortly afterwards on suspicion of ‘voluntary homicide by a person in authority’. The incident was filmed and posted on social media, causing protests outside the police station the same day. The protests quickly escalated into riots and spread to other cities in the country, attacking town halls, schools, police stations and other public buildings such as libraries and even banks. There have been reports of vandalism, fires, violence and even illegal weapons in several parts of the country.

In Marseille, which has a very large immigrant population, the situation was reportedly chaotic with car fires, street clashes and shootings. Shops have also been looted, including a gun shop in the city where hunting weapons were stolen.

Paris mayor’s home attacked – with burning car

Probably one of the most dramatic incidents is that Paris Mayor Vincent Jeanbrun had a burning car rammed into his house, injuring both his wife and one of their children. Jeanbrun called it a “cowardly assassination attempt”.

According to reports, around 45 000 police officers and ‘gendarmes’, the French equivalent of the National Guard, have been deployed to try to restore order. Most of those involved in the violent riots are described as “young people”, according to Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin.

On Friday, around 1300 people were reportedly arrested in connection with the riots. Over 700 people were arrested on Sunday night and several hundred were arrested on Monday night.

Riots have also spread to the French Caribbean, with most violence reported in French Guiana, according to France24. A 54-year-old government employee working on mosquito research was reportedly killed in a shootout while sitting on his balcony.

In total, over 500 police officers were reportedly injured during the riots.

The UN has also commented on the riots in France, stating that it has a clear understanding of the sequence of events and that the entire burden of responsibility should be placed on “racism in the French police force”.

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