Cars are set on fire after a march honoring Nahel, the young man killed by a police officer in France AP – Michel Euler

The 38-year-old police officer presented himself to Justice this Thursday afternoon (29).

“My client was arrested for firing a shot that he deemed necessary, with the weapon given to him by the State to guarantee his safety and that of the citizens”, declared Laurent-Franck Liénard, the police officer’s lawyer. “We will challenge and fight this court decision by all means of the law. As soon as the political pressure and anger from the streets subsides, and we can be heard, we will demonstrate that he acted in accordance with the law,” he added.

Shortly before, the public prosecutor of Nanterre, Pascal Prache, explained at a press conference that “the legal conditions for the use of the weapon were not met”

Curfew and march

In Clamart, another suburb of the Parisian region, where several incidents were recorded after the drama, the city hall decided to introduce a curfew from this Thursday, 9 pm, until Monday, at 6 am.

A march in honor of Nahel gathered around 6,200 people. The procession began at 2 pm (9 am in Brasília time), in Nanterre, close to the place where the drama took place. The victim’s mother, on top of a van, was wearing a T-shirt with the words “Justice for Nahel”.

The march ended at Nanterre town hall. There were protests that ended in confusion. Police officers threw tear gas into the crowd and footage shows protesters responding with projectiles. Cars and urban equipment were set on fire. Eight people were arrested.

The mother of Nahel, 17, dead, shouts “Justice for Nahel” before a march on Thursday, June 29, 2023, in Nanterre, on the outskirts of Paris. AP – Michel Euler

The drama generated a wave of violence in the outskirts of Paris, which spread this Wednesday night (28) to several cities in France, such as Rouen, Alençon, Brest and Tours, in different regions.

Buses and trams will stop

Valérie Pecresse, representative of the Île-de-France region, where Paris is located, called for the interruption of bus and tram services from 9 pm today in the neighborhoods where protests took place last night.

A tram and eleven buses were set on fire during riots last Wednesday (29). “All this is millions of euros in public services that have gone up in smoke, millions of euros of public money, it is irresponsible, this has to end”, said Pecresse, denouncing “imbecile and criminal acts”.

How did the drama happen?

According to information from the prosecutor, Nahel’s car, a Mercedes with Polish license plates, was traveling at high speed, which puzzled the police.

They turn on the car’s siren and approach the driver at a red light, but the teenager drives right by.

He is forced to slow down near the train station, due to a traffic jam. The officers then draw their weapons and ask him to stop, but Nahel restarts the car.

A video, authenticated by AFP, shows that one of the two officers held Nahel at gunpoint and then shot him at close range.

The young driver died shortly after being hit in the chest. One of the vehicle’s two passengers is still being sought. Nahel’s family regretted that the other police officer present was not indicted for complicity.

The newspaper Le Figaro has on its website a profile of the young man killed by the police. He had already been arrested 12 times for various offences. Some cases were archived, but one of them led to the execution of a socio-educational measure pronounced by a juvenile judge, according to information from Europa 1 radio.

police mobilization

The French Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, declared that the number of military and civilian police deployed to contain the violence will be 40,000 agents – 5,000 in the Paris region. “The State’s response will be inflexible. Everyone needs to be aware that public order will be restored,” he said.

Originally published on RFI

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