Violent Riots Grip France for Third Day as Largest Library in Marseilles Set Ablaze
Riots in France have persisted for the third consecutive day following the death of a teenager in a police shooting. The unrest has resulted in multiple fires, looted police cars, store break-ins, and the burning down of the largest library in Marseilles, known as Alcazar. The violence has spread across various locations in the country, including Marseille, Lyon, Pau, Toulouse, Lille, and parts of Paris.
Approximately 40,000 police officers have been deployed nationwide to restore order. Overnight, more than 200 police personnel were injured, and 875 individuals were arrested. Clashes between the rioters and police in the popular tourist area of Le Vieux Port in Marseille led to the use of tear gas grenades by law enforcement.
In an effort to regain control, the government has instructed local authorities to suspend public transport early in the evening. The riots were ignited by the killing of a young Algerian named Nahel, prompting calls for vengeance. Paris has pledged to explore all possible options to restore order amidst the widespread chaos.
President Emmanuel Macron has announced the deployment of additional police forces throughout France and has urged parents to keep their children away from the streets. He stated that it is the responsibility of parents, not the state, to prevent young individuals from participating in the riots. During a crisis meeting with his ministers, Macron criticized social media and video games, attributing them to playing a significant role in fueling the unrest. He called for platforms like Snapchat and TikTok to remove sensitive content.
The police officer responsible for shooting Nahel expressed remorse to the victim's family. He is facing accusations of voluntary homicide, with his attorney stating that he is devastated by the incident. The officer claimed that he fired at Nahel's chest unintentionally while aiming for his leg after a collision between them.
The destruction of the Alcazar library in Marseilles is a significant development in the ongoing riots. Local officials reported that a scuffle broke out nearby, leading to tear gas being used to disperse a group of individuals attempting to set up barricades. Subsequently, the rioters targeted several public buildings, including the library situated in the city center.
The comparison between the burning of Alcazar and the historical burning of the Nalanda University library in India almost a thousand years ago has drawn attention on social media. Netizens have highlighted the significance of knowledge and lamented the destruction of these repositories of learning. They drew parallels between the attacks on Alcazar and Nalanda, emphasizing the recurring theme of targeting centers of knowledge throughout history.
The violence in France began after the killing of a teenager by a police officer during a routine traffic check. The 17-year-old victim, Nahel M., attempted to flee the scene when shots were fired, resulting in a fatal bullet wound to the chest. The accused officer has been detained on suspicion of manslaughter, and President Macron has expressed solidarity with the victim's family while emphasizing the importance of justice in establishing the truth and assigning responsibility.