The grandmother of the French teen whose fatal shooting by cops has sparked violent nationwide protests pleaded for peace Sunday after a fifth night of riots and a total of more than 700 arrests.
“Don’t destroy the schools, don’t destroy the buses,” the grandma of the slain 17-year-old boy, identified only as Nahel, said to rioters who have taken to the streets. “We want things to calm down.
“I’m telling them to stop,” said the grandmother, identified in reports as Nadia, to reporters. “Nahel is dead. My daughter [his mother] is lost. … She doesn’t have a life anymore.”
The death of Nahel — a Muslim delivery driver shot during a traffic stop in the Paris suburb of Nanterre — has fueled long-standing resentment in some of the country’s less-privileged neighborhoods, where residents feel targeted by strong-arm police tactics.
His grandmother’s plea came after his funeral Saturday was followed by another violent night in the European nation, with angry protesters ransacking businesses, torching schools and official buildings and even targeting the home of a local mayor, injuring his wife and child, authorities said.
The violence has created a major challenge for President Emmanuel Macron, who was forced to cancel a planned visit to Germany on Sunday — the first by a French president in 23 years — to deal with the riots.
Macron drew more criticism when he was spotted dancing at an Elton John concert during the unrest.
Early Sunday morning, a burning car was sent crashing into the home of Vincent Jeanbrun, the mayor of L’Hay-les-Roses, another Paris suburb, injuring his family, as rioters clashed with police from Champs-Elysees to Marseille, according to authorities.
Jeanburn told reporters that the rioting — the worst the country has seen in years — represented a new level of “horror and ignominy.”
So far police have arrested 719 protesters and detained more than 2,800 others.
According to reports, three motorists have been killed in France during traffic stops so far this year, matching the total for all of 2022.
Prime Minister Elizabeth Borne has promised that “we’re going to do everything to bring back order as soon as possible.”
A protester who only gave his name as Demba said he is skeptical that Nahel’s death will bring change.
“I doubt it,” he said. “The discrimination is too profound.”
France was also rocked by weeks of violent riots in 2005 after the electrocution deaths of two teenagers while they were fleeing police in the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois.
With Post wires