Angry protests in France follow fatal police shooting in Paris suburb

2023-06-29 14:15:20
Angry protests in France follow fatal police shooting in Paris suburb

Clashes have broken out between protesters and police in France following public outrage over the shooting death of a 17-year-old in the Paris suburb of Nanterre a traffic violation.

The teenager was driving a rental car in the western suburbs of Paris early Tuesday morning when police pulled him over for breaking several traffic laws, prosecutors said.

A video posted on social media shows two police officers trying to stop the car, one of them pointing his weapon through the window at the driver, when the young man seemingly tried to drive away. The car moved a short distance before crashing.

Emergency services tried to revive the teenager, but he died a short time later.

Local residents rallied in front of the police headquarters. Tensions flared later Tuesday between police and protesters who were met with tear gas and stun grenades from the French police, according to videos released on local media.

According to the French authorities, nine people were arrested in the course of confrontations.

Local media outlets showed footage shared on social media networks of youths clashing with police late in the evening, including a clip that appeared to show a protest in the heart of Paris - located about 11 kilometers (roughly 7 miles) from the suburbs.

The Nanterre prosecutor's office said the officer accused of shooting the driver was arrested on charges of murder.

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin told parliament that two police officers were involved in the interrogation and acknowledged that the images posted on social media were "extremely shocking".

In a statement, the lawyers rejected reported police claims that the officers' lives were in danger because the driver had threatened to run them over.

The family's lawyer, Yassin Bouzrou, told local media that while all parties must await the outcome of the investigation, the images "clearly show that a policeman killed a young man in cold blood".

“This is a long way from any kind of legitimate defense,” he said, adding the family had filed a complaint accusing the police of “lying” by initially claiming the car had tried to run down the officers.

After a record 13 deaths by police shootings in France last year, it is the second deadliest such shooting in 2023. Three people were killed by police after refusing to obey a traffic stop in 2021 and two in 2020.

A report on fatal shootings in 2021 and 2022 shows that most of the victims of shootings by French police were black or of Arab descent.

“As a mother from Nanterre, I have a feeling of insecurity for our children,” said Mornia Labssi, a local resident and anti-racism campaigner, who said she had spoken to the victim’s family, which she said was of Algerian origin.


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