There are great fears that France is descending into a civil war as police clash with Arab gangs.
Violence and looting hit France in a fourth night of protests as police made more than 1,300 arrests and the country braced for more clashes as the funeral began Saturday of the teenager who was killed by an officer during a traffic stop.
The government said the violence had “lessened” compared to previous nights, but the interior ministry still reported 1,311 arrests nationwide overnight.
It was the highest number on any night since the protests began Tuesday, sparked by the death of 17-year-old Nahel M. by a police bullet. The teenager had a long criminal record and was known to police.
Provisional ministry numbers released early Saturday said 1,350 vehicles and 234 buildings had been torched overnight, and there had been 2,560 incidents of fire set in public spaces.
The ministry also said 79 police or gendarmes had been injured.
The clashes continued despite France deploying 45,000 officers, more than on any night since the start of the protests, backed by light armored vehicles and elite police units.
They were unable to stop looting in the cities of Marseille, Lyon, and Grenoble, with bands of often-hooded rioters pillaging shops.
They’re chanting Allahu Akbar as they torch France pic.twitter.com/57yqbmoRQd— Jack Poso 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) July 2, 2023
France is looking like a war torn country. Pharmacy collapsed after being set on fire. 70 stores in the city center of this small town were ravaged or looted 🚨🚨🚨— Wall Street Silver (@WallStreetSilv) July 1, 2023
🚨🇫🇷 Riots – France 🇫🇷🚨— Concerned Citizen (@cotupacs) July 1, 2023
Overnight French Islamist rioters have burnt down buildings, killed, injured & even maimed French locals, looted shops, destroyed vehicles & laid waste to every major French City.
These scenes will be repeated across the whole of Europe & are starting… pic.twitter.com/8mnAZlPVqi