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Fifth Night Of Riots In France: 45,000 Police On The Streets.

Video screengrab: Al Jazeera. On yet another night of rioting in France 700 people were arrested. Many parts of the country now have curfews.

By Editor-July 2nd, 2023.

Young rioters in France again clashed with police overnight and bombed a mayor’s home with a burning car as France faced a fifth night of unrest triggered by the police killing of a teenager believed to be of Algerian descent at a traffic stop, but overall violence appeared reduced compared to previous nights.

Police had made more than 700 arrests nationwide by early Sunday after a mass security deployment aimed at quelling France’s worst social upheaval in years.

Tens of thousands of police were deployed in cities across the country on Saturday after the funeral of Nahel M.

President Emmanuel Macron postponed a state visit to Germany that was due to begin on Sunday to handle the worst crisis for his leadership since the “yellow vest” protests paralysed much of France in late 2018.

“A calmer night thanks to the resolute action of the security forces,” Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin tweeted early on Sunday.

However, Mayor Vincent Jeanbrun wrote on Twitter that protesters “rammed a car” into his home, before “setting a fire”. “My wife and one of my children were injured,” he said.

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne condemned the attack. “An act of the kind we saw this morning here is particularly shocking. We will let no violence get by” unpunished, she said, urging that the perpetrators be sanctioned with the “utmost severity”.

Some 45,000 police were on the streets with specialised elite units, armoured vehicles and helicopters brought in to reinforce its three largest cities, Paris, Lyon and Marseille.

As of 1:45am (23:45 GMT, Saturday), although the situation was calmer than the previous four nights, there was still some tension in central Paris and sporadic clashes took place in the Mediterranean cities of Marseille, Nice and the eastern city of Strasbourg.

The biggest flashpoint was in Marseille where police fired tear gas and fought street battles with youths around the city centre late into the night.

In Paris, police increased security at the city’s landmark Champs-Elysees Avenue after a call on social media to gather there. The street, usually packed with tourists, was lined with security forces carrying out spot checks. Shop facades were boarded up to prevent potential damage and pillaging.

Police said 719 people were arrested nationwide on the fifth night of rioting. The interior ministry said 1,311 people had been arrested on Friday night, compared with 875 the previous night, although it described the violence as “lower in intensity”.

Local authorities all over the country announced bans on demonstrations, ordered public transport to stop running in the evening and some imposed overnight curfews.

Rioters have torched 2,000 vehicles since the start of the unrest. More than 200 police officers have been injured, Darmanin said on Saturday, adding that the average age of those arrested was 17.

More than 700 shops, supermarkets, restaurants and bank branches had been “ransacked, looted and sometimes even burned to the ground since Tuesday”, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said.

Sources: Al Jazeera, AFP. BBC, news agencies.