France deployed 45,000 police officers and other security forces fanned out across the country to quell violence in the wake of Nahel’s death. The 17-year-old of North African origin was reportedly killed during a traffic check in a Paris suburb on Tuesday.

Local media report that despite the security arrangements, looting took place on Friday evening in the cities of Lyon, Marseille and Grenoble. Protesters also allegedly torched cars in the streets.

But during a visit to Mantes-la-Jolie west of Paris, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said early this Saturday that the violence of the night had been “much less intense”, with 994 arrests nationwide.

The minister announced an “exceptional” mobilization of police and gendarmes to avoid a fourth consecutive night of riots following the death of Nahel, who would be buried this weekend in the Parisian suburb of Nanterre where he lived and was killed.

International reactions about the violence in France

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is one of the latest international organizations to criticize French police, saying the shooting was “a moment for the country to seriously address the issues root causes of racism and racial discrimination in law enforcement”.

OHCHR spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said authorities should ensure that the use of police forces “always respects the principles of legality, necessity, proportionality, non-discrimination, precaution and responsibility “.

The French football team has also joined calls for an end to the violence.

“The time of violence must give way to that of mourning, dialogue and reconstruction,” the team said in a statement posted on social media by captain Kylian Mbappe.

The Blues said they were “shocked by the brutal death of young Nahel” but asked that the violence give way to other “peaceful and constructive ways of expressing themselves”.

According to reports, the death of the teenager, identified as Nahel, was the third fatal shooting by police during traffic checks in France in 2023. There were a record 13 such shootings last year, three in 2021 and two in 2020. Most victims since 2017 have been of black or Arab descent, bolstering claims by rights groups of systemic racism within French law enforcement.

AfrikPage with news agencies