Fires and looting in Lille amid protests in France

Fires and looting in Lille amid protests in France

June 29, 2023, 11:18 PM

June 29, 2023, 11:18 PM

Small scattered groups played cat and mouse on Thursday before a large police contingent in Lille, northern France, where three nights of violence have left municipal councils burned or stoned, looting and damage.

Like other French cities, this city of a million and a half inhabitants near the border with Belgium has been the scene of riots since Tuesday, when a young man was shot dead by a police officer in Nanterrenear Paris.

In the popular neighborhood of Wazemmes, the firefighters finish extinguishing the fire that damaged the ground floor of the district town hall, now with the blackened façade, at dawn.

“Burning a town hall is useless,” Sofiane, a 22-year-old bus driver, considers in front of the building, while fireworks can be heard in the distance.

“The policeman who did this didn’t have to do it,” he says of the officer who shot the young teenager Nahel. “But attacking public places, who cares, has nothing to do with it.”

“It is inadmissible”, this “affects the population”, is outraged Brice Lauret, a neighborhood councilor who went to the scene of the events. “I can understand anger, but not violence,” she adds.

In another poor neighbourhood, in Fives, the district town hall was stoned and its windows smashed, Lille’s mayor’s office said.

AND there are “many looting” of shops and supermarketshe added. Those responsible are “small, highly mobile groups, made up of very young (people)”, who hit “everywhere”.

– Strong police deployment –

The city is packed with police forces, including elite units, and hovered over by a helicopter and surveillance drones after the violence the night before.

After midnight, tensions were rising in Roubaix, one of the poorest municipalities in France. The police blocked access to a theater with numerous broken glass.

Next to it, the remains of a burning barricade were finished consuming and fireworks were flying in the sky.

The first incidents began around 9:00 p.m. in the area of ​​the police station central Lille, where the prefecture had prohibited all congregation.

Mobile and dispersed, small groups of young people set fire to containers and vehicles and smashed shop windows on a shopping street. Some broke the window of a supermarket to get some soft drinks.

The agents, aboard an armored vehicle, intervened several times to try to disperse them.

The prefecture, which had prohibited any congregation in that area, announced the arrest of six people in that sector and a total of 24 in the city at the beginning of the night.

“The police think that everything is allowed. They have killed an innocent young man, they should stop,” said a 16-year-old bystander.

“Nahel’s death is too serious, it is unjustified”considered near that place a young man in his twenties.

“But the reaction is wrong. Degrading public services is useless” because “it is our money that is going to repair all this,” he adds.

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