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France deploys 40,000 more police, as officers tear gas Paris protesters led by mother of teen boy 'executed' by officer
29 June 2023, 18:24 | Updated: 30 June 2023, 06:17
The French government deployed an extra 40,000 police officers after violence broke out again on Wednesday in Paris during a march led by the mother of a teenage boy shot to death by officers.
The 6,000-strong protest, which took place in a suburb of the French capital, led to yet more clashes with police after two nights of violence, following the killing of Nahel, a 17-year-old French-Algerian delivery driver on Tuesday, which has led to days of riots across Paris.
Protests at Nahel's killing have also broken out in other French cities, including Lyon, Lille and Toulouse.
Officers shot tear gas into the crowd of protesters in the Paris suburb of Nanterre on Thursday as they struggled to control the unrest. At least 150 people have been arrested.
Nahel's mother Monica sat on a truck wearing a 'Justice for Nahel' T-shirt.
She cried out: "I am for Nahel, I am for Nahel!", as protesters responded: "Justice for Nahel! Justice for Nahel!"
But as the march continued, the atmosphere descended as some protesters started fires and throwing objects at police.
Officers responded with tear gas and the streets filled with thick black smoke, with a local police spokesperson saying: "The atmosphere is very tense, and violence is ongoing."
The French government deployed 40,000 extra police officers on Thursday, in a desperate bid to quell the unrest.
Announcing the extra officers on Wednesday, interior minister Gerald Darmanin said: "The state must be firm in its response, tonight 40,000 police officers will be mobilised, including 5,000 in the Paris region, versus 9,000 yesterday".
Meanwhile the officer who shot Nahel was hit with a preliminary charge of voluntary homicide and locked up during the investigation.
Prosecutor Pascal Prache said that "the conditions for the legal use of the weapon were not met."
It comes after riot cops and protestors in Paris clashed on Wednesday evening for the second night in a row following the shooting of Nahel.
French President Emmanuel Macron labelled the shooting "inexcusable" but appealed for calm on Wednesday.
Nahel's mother said earlier: "He was everything to me, and that son of a b***h shot him," she said.
Speaking in a video on Instagram, she said: "He gave me a big kiss and told me he loved me, I told him to be careful, we left the house at the same time and went to McDonalds, then I went to work like everyone.
"An hour later my son was shot. What do I do now?"
She went on in: "I only had one, he was my best friend, my son, we were so close, thank you all for your support, I don't know what else to say."
Macron said: "A teenager was killed. That is inexplicable and unforgivable."
On Wednesday evening, cars were set alight and fireworks set off in Nanterre, as well as other parts of the city, including the Hauts-de-Seine region.
Police also said protestors set a bus on fire in Essonne after all passengers had exited.
In Toulouse, a number of cars were torched and police officers were targeted with projectiles.
Around 16 people were arrested overnight.
"I hurt for my France," Mbappé said. "Unacceptable situation. All my thoughts go to the family and loved ones of Nahel, this little angel gone much too soon".
Meanwhile his fellow France international Jules Koundé criticised the French media coverage for "distorting the truth".
"As if this latest police blunder wasn't enough, the 24-hour news channels are taking advantage of it by making a big fuss,' Barcelona defender Jules Koundé wrote in a social media post.
"The 'journalists' ask 'questions' with the sole aim of distorting the truth, criminalising the victim and finding extenuating circumstances where none exist. An age-old method for masking the real problem."
Koundé encouraged his compatriots to "turn off the TV and find out what's going on" themselves.