Hundreds arrested as rioters raid gun store and arm themselves with rifles amid fourth night of anarchy in France

30 June 2023, 18:28 | Updated: 1 July 2023, 08:52

Riots have erupted for a fourth night in a row in France.
Riots have erupted for a fourth night in a row in France. Picture: LBC / Alamy / Getty

By Danielle De Wolfe

Looters in Marseille were spotted raiding a gun store on Friday as violence continues to spread across the country and into Belgium.

Rioters in Marseille were seen breaking into and stealing from a gun store, as the country braced for another night of unrest.

Violence once again erupted in the Parisian suburb of Nanterre overnight, with cars set alight and firefighters battling to bring a bus blaze under control.

It was here, on Tuesday, that 17-year-old Nahel M was shot dead by police, triggering nationwide riots across France.

The teenager's funeral is set to be held today against a backdrop of unrest, as violence and devastating riots continue.

Looters were pictured online carrying rifles, according to the Daily Mail, while other videos showed individuals breaking into ATMs with disc cutters, drivers ramming into the entrance of a McDonald’s and fires ablaze everywhere.

The protesters continued on Friday during the daytime, developing over the course of the day until they turned into another night of fully-fledged riots.

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According to the French ministry, over 300 people were arrested on Friday in the continued string of chaos.

Looting has affected Marseille, Lyon and Grenoble, with Lille also affected overnight. Reports also revealed the riots spilled over into Belgium, as a local newspaper reported the arrest of over 100 people in the Belgian capital.

Rioters could even been seen ransacking a police station.

More than 3,800 fires were lit on public roads across the country last night, while France suspended all bus and tram services ahead of the anticipated riots on Friday in a bid to mitigate any potential damage.

On Thursday 45,000 police officers were deployed to tackle the unrest, but as fears grew over the potential of another night of mayhem on Friday, the number was increased to 45,000 officers.

French prime minister Elisabeth Borne also announced officers would deploy armoured vehicles on Friday.

Demonstration asking for justice for Nahel in Paris
Demonstration asking for justice for Nahel in Paris. Picture: Getty

She said “additional mobile forces" would be brought in, adding that "large-scale events binding personnel and potentially posing risks to public order" would be cancelled.

French president Emmanuel Macron urged parents on Friday to keep their children inside, as he revealed some of those arrested have been as young as 13.

He also called the riots across the country an "unacceptable exploitation of the adolescent's death" to justify violence.

The riots were brought on by the death of 17-year-old Nahel M, a French-Algerian delivery driver who was shot by a police officer in a routine traffic stop on Tuesday 27 June.

Read more: France deploys armoured vehicles to stop riots as bus and tram services scrapped after three nights of devastation

Read more: Violence and looting spreads across France after police ‘execution’ of teenager - as Macron parties with Elton

A gun store in Marseille was reportedly raided.
A gun store in Marseille was reportedly raided. Picture: Twitter
More than 40,000 officers have been deployed to tackle the growing riots.
More than 40,000 officers have been deployed to tackle the growing riots. Picture: Getty

It comes after the UK foreign office urged Brits intending to visit France earlier on Friday to check before travelling and stay vigilant on their trips after a series of “violent” riots across the country.

Guidance from the foreign office reads: “Since 27 June, riots have taken place across France. Many have turned violent.

“Shops, public buildings and parked cars have been targeted. There may be disruptions to road travel and local transport provision may be reduced. Some local authorities may impose curfews. Locations and timing of riots are unpredictable.

“You should monitor the media, avoid areas where riots are taking place, check the latest advice with operators when travelling and follow the advice of the authorities.”

Riots broke out the same evening as news of the teenager's death travelled, resulting in the first night of unrest, with bins and barricades set ablaze and firecrackers thrown at police.

But as the week continued the riots started to ramp up, as over 150 people were arrested on the Wednesday night, increasing to almost 1,000 arrests on the Thursday.

Arrest have already been made on Friday after an impromptu protest at the Place de la Concorde.
Arrest have already been made on Friday after an impromptu protest at the Place de la Concorde. Picture: Getty

Read more: Moment flagship Nike store in central Paris is ransacked by looters as wave of rioting sweeps France

Read more: France deploys 40,000 more police, as officers tear gas Paris protesters led by mother of teen boy 'executed' by officer

The French government deployed 40,000 officers to respond to the growing unrest across the country on Thursday, with riots raging from Lille to Marseille, which banned public demonstrations.

Interior minister Gerald Darmanin has told regional authorities to stop bus and tram services from 7pm local time.

He also requested that fireworks, petrol cans and flammable products be banned.

He said 3,880 fires broke out on public roads across the country on Thursday,

Tourists have been warned of cars being targeted.
Tourists have been warned of cars being targeted. Picture: Alamy

French president Emmanuel Macron has urged for calm and told parents to stop their children joining the disorder, but the president has also been criticised as he was spotted dancing at an Elton John concert in Paris on Wednesday.

The officer responsible for Nahel’s death has been charged with homicide and remains in custody.

But furious rioters have taken to the streets as it brought back to light issues around racial profiling and police relations with ethnic minorities.

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