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France Riots: Public Transport Curtailed After Rage Over Shooting

PARIS - France is facing a wave of violent protests and riots after the fatal police shooting of a 17-year-old boy of North African descent in a Paris suburb on Tuesday.

The boy, identified as Nahel M., was killed by a police officer during a traffic stop in Nanterre, where he lived. A video of the incident, which showed Nahel being shot in the chest as he tried to flee on a scooter, went viral on social media and sparked outrage among his family and friends.

The anger soon spread to other poor, racially mixed, urban areas across France, where many residents accuse the police of racism and brutality. For three consecutive nights, rioters have clashed with the police, torched buildings and cars, and looted stores. More than 200 police officers have been injured and 875 people have been arrested, according to the authorities.

The government has vowed to restore order and examine "all options" to end the unrest. Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne called the violence "intolerable and inexcusable" and said the government would not tolerate any attacks on public servants or property.

President Emmanuel Macron, who left a European Union summit early to attend a crisis meeting, said he would ask social media platforms to remove "the most sensitive" footage of the riots and to identify the users who incite violence. He also said some public events would be canceled in the regions affected by the riots.

The interior ministry has deployed 40,000 police officers across the country to prevent further escalation. The ministry also asked all local authorities to halt public transport from 9 pm on Friday evening, as a precautionary measure. Some cities, such as Marseille, have also banned public demonstrations and advised restaurants to close early.

The riots have raised questions about the state of social cohesion and security in France, which has been struggling with economic hardship, social inequality, and Islamist terrorism in recent years. The death of Nahel M. has also reignited the debate over police accountability and racism in France, where rights groups allege systemic discrimination against minority ethnic communities.

Macron has denied that there is systemic racism in France and has defended the police as a "republican institution". He has also promised "zero tolerance" for any racist acts within law enforcement agencies. However, he has also acknowledged that some police officers may have "behavioral problems" and has pledged to reform the police training and oversight system.

The investigation into Nahel's death is ongoing and the officer who shot him has been suspended pending the outcome. The prosecutor's office said it was treating the case as a homicide and that it would examine all the evidence, including the video footage and witness testimonies.

Nahel's family and friends have demanded justice and transparency from the authorities. They have also called for calm and urged people not to resort to violence in his name. They have described Nahel as a kind-hearted boy who loved sports and music.

"He was not a delinquent, he was not a thug, he was just a kid who wanted to live", said Mohamed Jakoubi, a family friend who watched Nahel grow up. "We are fed up, we are French too. We are against violence, we are not scum".



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