Germany's Scholz says following riots in France 'with concern'

AFP , Sunday 2 Jul 2023

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Sunday he was following riots in France "with concern", a day after President Emmanuel Macron postponed a state visit to his country over the violence.

Germany s Chancellor Olaf Scholz speaks during a media conference at an EU summit in Brussels, Friday, June 30, 2023. AP


"We are of course looking at (the riots) with concern, and I very much hope, and I am certainly convinced, that the French president will find ways to ensure that this situation improves quickly," Scholz told broadcaster ARD in an interview.

French politicians expressed horror on Sunday after the home of the mayor of a Paris suburb was attacked in a new night of rioting over the killing of a teen by police, even if the violence nationwide was less intense than previous days.

The government of President Emmanuel Macron has been battling five consecutive nights of violent protests since 17-year-old Nahel M. was shot dead in the Paris suburb of Nanterre on Tuesday by a police officer during a traffic check.

The killing of Nahel M, who was of Algerian origin, has revived longstanding accusations of institutional racism within the French police who rights groups say single out minorities during controls.

Seeking to quell what has become one of the biggest challenges to Macron of his presidency, the interior ministry has for the last two nights deployed 45,000 police and gendarmes nationwide, as well as helicopters and armoured vehicles.

The interior ministry said 719 people were arrested overnight, around half the figure from the previous night with intense clashes still reported in several places, including the southern city of Marseille, but calmer elsewhere.

Attention focused on the attack on the home of Vincent Jeanbrun, the right-wing mayor of L'Haÿ-les-Roses outside Paris which saw a burning car rammed by rioters into the entrance of his home with the aim of it setting fire to the building, prosecutors said.

The mayor's wife and children, aged 5 and 7, were at home, although the mayor himself was at the town hall to deal with the riots. The wife was "badly injured" sustaining a broken leg, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors have opened an attempted murder investigation. "Last night the horror and disgrace reached a new level," the mayor said in a statement.

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