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Over 800 arrested across France in third night of riots after fatal police shooting of teen


(PARIS) — Widespread rioting continued in the streets of France for a third night amid anger over the fatal police shooting of 17-year-old Nael M.

Protesters erected barricades, set buildings and cars ablaze, threw fireworks at riot police and ransacked stores. Police stations, schools and town halls were among the buildings targeted. Riot police used tear gas, water cannons and non-lethal dispersion grenades to fend off violent groups.

A total of 875 people were arrested, 3,880 fires were started, 2,000 vehicles were burned and 492 buildings were damaged nationwide on Thursday night as curfews were in place in multiple cities, according to the French Ministry of the Interior. About half of the arrests were reportedly made in the Paris region alone.

“Last night, our police, gendarmes and firefighters courageously faced rare violence,” Darmanin said in a Twitter post on Friday morning.

Among those arrested were 14 people who allegedly broke into a flagship Nike store at the Chatelet station in the heart of Paris, according to an official in the Paris Prefecture Office.

Some 40,000 law enforcement officers had been deployed across France on Thursday evening to quell potential violence, including about 5,000 in the capital and its inner suburbs. Nearly 250 of those officers were injured overnight, according to the interior minister.

Protests over the teenager’s death also took place in Belgium’s capital on Thursday night, with some rioters allegedly attacking officers in Brussels, a spokesperson for the Belgian Federal Police told ABC News. A least eight people were arrested there, the police spokesperson said.

Dozens of police officers were deployed in the city center of Brussels on Thursday night and two subway stations were shuttered.

The violent unrest in France kicked off after a 17-year-old driver was shot and killed by a police officer during a traffic check in the northwestern Paris suburb Nanterre on Tuesday morning. The officer has been detained on suspicion of voluntary homicide amid an ongoing investigation into the incident, according to the local prosecutor’s office.

Nanterre prosecutor Pascal Prache said Thursday that the officer did not meet the requirements to discharge his weapon and will remain in custody awaiting trial.

France’s Inspectorate General of the National Police, which investigates allegations of police misconduct, is also conducting a probe into the fatal shooting.

Lawyers for the victim’s family identified him as 17-year-old Nael M. and said they intend to file complaints against the officer accused of pulling the trigger and another officer who was at the scene. A funeral for Nael is set to be held in Nanterre on Saturday.

While tensions have remained highest in the Paris suburbs, almost every region of France has been hit with unrest since Tuesday. As a result, the southern port city of Marseille has banned all public demonstrations.

French President Emmanuel Macron and the interior minister have both repeatedly called for “calm” as authorities investigate the teen’s death.

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