France's fifth night of rioting sees looting and attack on mayor's home

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France's fifth night of rioting sees looting and attack on mayor's home
French police officers fire tear has as demonstrators fill the street in the Champs Elysees area of Paris on July 1, 2023, five days after a 17-year-old man was killed by police in Nanterre, a western suburb of Paris. Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP

More than 700 people were arrested as riots and looting continued across France for a fifth night, although many towns reported a calmer night than previously.


Despite reports that the situation was calmer than previous nights in many places, there was still widespread disorder, with shops looted, buildings set alight and clashes with police.

The mayor of the Paris suburb of L'Hay-les-Roses reported that rioters rammed a car into his house before setting it on fire, injuring his wife and children. Police have opened an enquiry into attempted murder.


There was a very heavy police presence on Paris' Champs-Elysées after reports that rioters planned to storm the famous avenue and loot the luxury shops.


Video footage from around 10.30pm shows police evacuating startled tourists from the famous avenue as shops boarded up their windows.


In the event, however, relatively small numbers turned up on or around the Champs-Elysées and were dispersed by police using tear gas. 

Cities including Marseille, Lille, Nice and Grenoble also saw clashes. In Marseille, police dispersed groups of youths earlier on Saturday evening at Canebière, the main avenue running through the centre of the city.


The scene of intense clashes on Friday and Saturday, Marseille authorities have halted all public transport from 6pm and banned protests until Sunday.

In Nice, a shop in the city centre was looted.


Smaller towns and cities across France also saw sporadic violence.

On Sunday morning, most local authorities were reporting a quieter night than previously, while interior minister Gérald Darmanin tweeted that it had been "a calmer night thanks to the resolute action of the security forces." 

Across France, 45,000 officers were deployed to deal with the violence, which flared on Tuesday after the death of a 17-year-old boy at the hands of police.

The family of Nahel, shot during a traffic stop in the Paris suburb of Nanterre, held a private funeral for him on Saturday.

The nights of rioting have drawn comparison with the clashes of 2005 - also sparked by the deaths of young men at the hands of police - and on Saturday, President Emmanuel Macron announced that he had cancelled a planned state visit to Germany in order to deal with the crisis. 

OPINION These riots could become France's most dangerous crisis in decades


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