Riots Ease In France As Mayors Hold Anti-Violence Rally

Riots in France appear to be calming, after five days of violent protests in response to the shooting of teenager

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Riots in France appear to be calming, after five days of violent protests in response to the shooting of teenager Nahel M during a police traffic stop.

Sunday night saw violence subside and fewer arrests were made.

However, President Emmanuel Macron has asked the interior ministry to keep a "massive" police presence on the streets.

On Monday, mayors called for rallies to be held outside town halls to protest the violence and looting.

In Nanterre, Nahel's hometown, mayor Patrick Jarry said he was pleased the violence had subsided, but added that "we shouldn't lose sight of the incident that sparked this situation and the continuing need for justice".

The mayor of Reims, a city just over two hours away from Paris, told a crowd of several hundred people that the rioters had "looted the businesses that they visit every day".

While Sunday night was far calmer, authorities were careful not to prematurely hail a return to normality on Monday.

Buses and trams in the Paris region will again be halted early on Monday night, while President Macron has asked the ministry of the interior to maintain a "massive" police presence across France in order to guarantee a "return to calm".

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About 45,000 officers have been deployed across the country for the past three nights.

More than 150 people were arrested on Sunday night, compared with more than 700 the night before.

There were 297 cars set on fire compared with Thursday's 1,900, while 34 buildings were damaged or set ablaze compared with more than 500 on Thursday.

In a press release shared on Sunday, an association of the country's mayors noted that "communes everywhere in France are the scene of serious unrest, which targets republican symbols with extreme violence".

In one act of violence, the home of a suburban Paris mayor was attacked, and rioters fired rockets at his fleeing wife and children, breaking her leg and injuring one of the children. The incident is being treated as attempted murder.

At the weekend, the family of Nahel, the teenager who was killed by police, called for the violence to end.

His grandmother accused rioters of using Nahel's death as an excuse and urged them to stop destroying public goods.

Another relative told the BBC that the family did not want his death to spark riots, but insisted the law around lethal force at traffic stops must change.

She also said her "heart is in pain" about a GoFundMe page for the family of the police officer who shot Nahel, which as of Monday had raised more than €1m (£859,963), with over 50,000 donations.

The fundraiser, which was set up by a far-right media commentator, has been criticised by several politicians - but the platform told French newspaper Le Parisien that GoFundMe's terms and conditions were not being broken because the funds are destined for the officer's family and "not meant for the legal defence of an alleged violent crime".

On Tuesday, President Macron will meet the mayors of 220 municipal areas that have been affected by the violence.

On Sunday, a 24-year-old fireman was killed while seeking to douse several cars which had been set alight in an underground car park in Seine-Saint-Denis, north of Paris, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said.

A spokesperson for the Paris fire brigade has told the BBC that there is at this stage "no formal link" with the violence that has rocked France, but the interior ministry said an investigation was under way to determine the circumstances of the fire.


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