Macron deploys 45,000 French police to tackle torching of infrastructures, vehicles, public spaces in ongoing nationwide riots
07/05/2023 // Belle Carter // Views

French President Emmanuel Marcon deployed some 45,000 police on Sunday, July 2, a day after Nahel Merzouk was laid to rest in the Paris suburb of Nanterre, to deal with the ongoing nationwide riots. Merzouk, 17, was shot dead by police during a traffic stop on June 27.

Out of the total number, 7,000 were stationed in the France capital and its suburbs, including the streets of top tourist destinations such as Champs Elysees in central Paris as the police monitored calls on social media to take rioting to the heart of "La Ville Lumiere."

The same number was also positioned the night before, and backup was dispatched to the previous days' flashpoints, including Lyon, Grenoble and Marseille. Reports indicate that more than 700 people were arrested following the funeral on Saturday as police fired tear gas and fought street battles with protestors late into the night in Marseilles, a hot spot for the uprising. They arrested around 1,300 the previous night. (Related: RIOTS erupt across France as EU falls to migrant invasion.)

Breitbart further reported that some 45 police officers or gendarmes were injured, 577 vehicles were torched, 74 buildings were set on fire, and 871 were set in streets and other public spaces. More than 20 police stations or gendarmerie barracks were also attacked, the interior ministry said.

Top government officials denounced the attacks. Vincent Jeanbrun, whose house was set on fire with his wife and children inside, lamented how the chaos brought horror and disgrace to a new level. Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne called the attack "intolerable," while prosecutors said they were treating it as attempted murder. Mayor Vincent Jeanbrun was not at home during the said incident.

Meanwhile, some youth protesters took advantage of the riots in Marseille. They faced police dispersal groups on Saturday evening at Canebiere, the main avenue running through the center of the city, as reported by journalists from the global news agency AFP.

"They came specifically to do damage, loot and leave,” said Youcef Bettahar, a shopkeeper at the Merlan shopping mall in Marseille. "We're really disgusted by what's happening."

In line with this, Macron has urged parents to take responsibility for underage rioters, one-third of whom were "young or very young." Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti confirmed this over the weekend, declaring that 30 percent of those arrested were minors, while Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin claimed the average age of those arrested was just 17.

The president also held the second crisis meeting in two days with senior ministers over the shooting on Friday morning. His administration has so far stopped short of declaring a state of emergency, a measure taken to quell weeks of rioting around the country following the "accidental death" of two boys fleeing police in 2005.

To further limit the ongoing violence, buses and trams have also stopped running after 9:00 p.m. Darmanin also ordered a ban on the sale and carrying of powerful fireworks, which rioters have launched at police officers and buildings, as well as on the sale of canisters of gasoline, acids and other chemicals and flammable liquids, the ministry said.

In Marseille, all urban transport has been stopped from 6:00 p.m. while a number of towns have declared overnight curfews. Concerts at the national stadium and more minor events around the country were also canceled because of the current circumstances. Among the canceled events were concerts at the Stade de France by singer-songwriter Mylene Farmer, scheduled for Friday and Saturday night.

Senior military official warns Macron: Restore order in the country within 48 hours or they will do it themselves

A former top brass French military commander and several other senior officers have reportedly delivered an ultimatum to Marcon to immediately stop riots nationwide within 48 hours or they will do it themselves.

Twenty officials have reportedly written a letter detailing the "threat," which has already circulated around Britain and France. It said that the warning would not only constitute a “stance” by officers in action against the state and the legitimate government but also entail very serious penalties for those who participated.

Former Parliamentary candidate with the Brexit Party Barnsley Jim Ferguson posted on Twitter, revealing the ultimatum that allegedly came from the former chief of the Armed Forces of France, General Pierre de Villiers, whom Macron had previously publicly humiliated during a row over defense spending cuts.

If riots remain unquelled, De Villiers and the senior serving military officials will intervene next week, Ferguson further disclosed.

Reports claim that the general pointed out that "rioters in France have armed themselves with automatic weapons, according to further reports in another alarming and troubling turn of events as Macron continues to lose control of the situation."

As the situation continues to unfold, there is not yet confirmation if the ultimatum is real or not.

Check out for updates on the continuing chaos in France triggered by police violence against a minor.

Sources for this article include:

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