France’s riots calm down as mayors hold a rally against violence

After five days of violent protests over the police killing of teen Nahel M during a traffic stop, things seem to be getting better in France.

On Sunday night, there was less fighting and fewer people were taken into custody.

But President Emmanuel Macron has asked the interior ministry to keep a “massive” number of cops on the streets.

On Monday, mayors called for gatherings to be held in front of town halls to protest the violence and looting.

Patrick Jarry, the mayor of Nahel’s hometown Nanterre, said he was glad the violence had stopped but that “we shouldn’t forget the incident that started this situation and the need for justice.”

Later in the afternoon, several hundred people went to a protest in L’Ha-les-Roses to support Vincent Jeanbrun, the mayor whose home was attacked by rioters who shot rockets at his wife and children as they ran away, breaking her leg and hurting one of the children. The situation is being looked at as an attempt to kill.

“We saw the real faces of the rioters: they are murderers,” said a clearly upset Mr. Jeanbrun. They wanted to burn my wife and two young kids to death while they were sleeping.

Mr. Jeanbrun also said, to cheers, that “democracy itself was attacked” in the past week. We need most of the people who have been quiet so far to say, “Enough!”

The Ile-de-France transport network said that the six days of riots caused millions of euros worth of damage to public transportation in the Paris area.

Even though Sunday night was much quiet, the government didn’t want to say too soon that things would be back to normal on Monday.

Buses and trams in the Paris area will be stopped again early on Monday night, and President Macron has asked the ministry of the interior to keep a “massive” police presence all over France to ensure a “return to calm.”

France’s banlieues, which are mostly empty farms, are on fire again.
Who was Nahel M? Police in Nanterre shot him.
Gérald Darmanin, the minister of the interior, said that about 45,000 police officers have been out on the streets for the past three nights and will be out again on Monday.

Sunday night, more than 150 people were arrested. The night before, more than 700 people were taken.

Only 297 cars were set on fire, compared to more than 1,900 on Thursday. Only 34 buildings were damaged or set on fire, compared to more than 500 on Thursday.

On the weekend, Nahel’s family called for a stop to the violence. Nahel was a teenager who was killed by police.

His grandma said that people who were rioting were using Nahel’s death as an excuse, and she told them to stop destroying public property.

Another family member told the BBC that the family didn’t want his death to cause riots, but that the law about using deadly force at traffic stops must change.

She also said that a GoFundMe page for the family of the police officer who shot Nahel hurt her “heart.” As of Monday, the page had raised more than €1.1 million (£956,200) and was slowly growing.

Several politicians have criticized the fundraiser, which was started by a far-right media commentator. However, GoFundMe told the French newspaper Le Parisien that its rules are not being broken because the money is going to the officer’s family and “not for the legal defense of an alleged violent crime.”

On Monday afternoon, €215,000 (£184,862) had been raised through a new platform for Nahel’s family.

In the meantime, French regional officials are starting to say how they will help businesses and hospitality venues that have been broken into financially.

Grants will be given to business owners in Marseille, and money will be used in the Paris area to fix up the damaged and looted public buildings.

But there are worries that the recent violence could hurt tourists in the long run just as the summer season starts.

A tourist official told the French newspaper Le Point that up to 25% of hotel reservations in Paris had already been canceled.

The regional transport network for Ile-de-France told AFP that public transportation was damaged to the tune of €20 million. This includes “burned buses, a burned tramway, two damaged tramways, and broken urban infrastructure.”

Francois Rial said that the riots were “a real risk” to France’s image. “This is true even if the violence stops, because many tourists don’t like taking risks,” he said.

On Tuesday, President Macron will meet with the mayors of 220 cities and towns where violence has happened.

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