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‘A battlefield’: street violence continues in France

Nahel's family asked for respect during the funeral held this Saturday. The young man was buried in the cemetery of Mont-Valérien.

Estación en Francia tras los disturbios de fines de junio.

(Cordon Press)

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France is still in revolt. The country is plagued by looting, arson and street riots four nights after the death of Nahel when he fled after being pulled over in the Paris suburb of Nanterre.

The Interior Ministry said Saturday that violence had declined overnight, with 79 officers injured and 944 protesters arrested, more than 1,300 since the riots began.

Thanks to the mobilization of internal security forces throughout the country, the level of violence last night was lower than the night before. 

Episodes of violence continued to occur despite the 45,000 officers mobilized, 5,000 more than the previous day. There were protests at a Holocaust memorial, which included graffiti, chanting and an attempt to burn a French flag:

In a video widely shared on social media, a motorcycle rides through Paris, which looks like "a battlefield."

President Emmanuel Macron canceled a trip to Germany that was scheduled for Sunday. After returning from Brussels, Belgium, to address the chaos with an inter-ministerial meeting, Macron blamed the parents of the protesters. He also blamed video games and social media, assuring that "nothing justifies violence."

Funeral in Nanterre

"For Nahel's family, Saturday, July 1 will be a day of mourning," begins a statement issued by lawyers for the 17-year-old's family.

The lawyers requested that the family's mourning be respected and asked journalists not to attend the funeral.

In a statement issued by his lawyers, Nahel's family asks journalists not to attend the various stages of the funeral tomorrow.

The Ibn Badis mosque in Nanterre was expecting so many attendees at the salatul janazah (funeral prayer) of the deceased young man that it authorized prayer in open-air areas, but warned that it would begin to ban entry if its capacity was exceeded.

Indeed, the doors had to be closed and some attendees prayed from outside, as Christopher Ayad reported for Le Monde. He also noted that at 3 p.m. local time, Nahel's coffin was transported from there to the Mont-Valérien cemetery, while cries of "Justice for Nahel" and "Allahu Akbar!" were heard.

Soccer star pleads for peace

"Since that tragic event [Nahel's death], we have witnessed widespread anger, the substance of which we understand, but the form of which we cannot approve," wrote French soccer star Kylian Mbappé.

Many of us come from working-class neighborhoods, and we share these feelings of pain and sadness. But to this suffering is added the feeling of helplessness as we witness a real process of self-destruction. Violence solves nothing, even less so when it inevitably and relentlessly turns against those who express it, their families, loved ones and neighbors.
It is their property that they are destroying, their neighborhoods, their cities, their places of accomplishment and proximity. In this context of extreme tension, we cannot remain silent, and our civic conscience impels us to call for appeasement, awareness and a sense of responsibility. Social actors, parents, older and younger brothers and sisters in our neighborhoods must work to restore peace to our neighborhoods. The "coexistence" that we hold so dear is in danger, and it is the responsibility of all of us to preserve it.
There are other peaceful and constructive ways to express ourselves. That is where our energies and thoughts should be focused. The time of violence must end and be replaced by a time of mourning, dialogue and reconstruction.