Countrywide Riot Take Place in France for Nearly a Week
By: Yichi Lin
Over the course of nearly a week, from last Tuesday to Sunday, violence broke out all over France. The military and police are all over the nation, primarily in major cities such as Lyon and Toulouse, have arrested more than 700 people who are involved with this huge riot, which the revolt is still ongoing.
These protests have been rolling around the five major cities of France, including the capital, Pairs, and the major port city of Marseille. There have been constant disruptions over consecutive nights, which caused the authorities to respond by deploying troops in several cities, including 45,000 in Marseille.
Despite the protest going on for quite a while, and those who participate in the riot are at risk of being arrested, many still wouldn’t back down. They all unite for the same cause, and continue to fight for what they believe is right.
Some rioters have acted aggressively in the streets, attacking government officials and vandalizing of public property.
As he sprinted from the police, one man yelled “No justice, no peace” into an NPR reporter’s microphone.
Another more serious example occurred in the Parisian suburb of L'Hay-les-Roses, where the mayor’s house has been partially damaged by civil unrest. This incident is supposed to be a personally targeted attack against the mayor in the area, Vincent Jeanbrun, and his family.
Protesters rammed a car into the official mayor’s house. As a result of the attack, the mayor’s wife and one of his sons were injured.
The unrest began when a police officer fatally shot a 17-year-old, Nahel Merzouk, last Tuesday, while Merzouk was driving. The two officers who were present defended the killing on the grounds that Merzouk drove toward them in a threatening manner.
However, the footage that was posted on social media showed a different scene, in which the police officers were the ones who moved toward Merzouk.
In the video, one of the officers tells him “You’re going to be shot in the head.” This statement is followed by the sound of a gunshot. Afterwards, the officers also tried to destroy evidence by arresting any witnesses. There are two people who witnessed the event; one managed to flee, while the other was arrested.
The killing appeared to be motivated by racism, as Merzouk was of Moroccan and Algerian descent. Even though the officers were charged with homicide, protests began quickly.
13 other people last year also died in similar circumstances. However, anti-racist protests of this size haven’t occurred for at least a decade.
The president of France, Emmanuel Macron, called the killing “inexcusable.” "Nothing justifies the death of a young person," he said as he called for "calm for justice to be done."