French minister calls for calm after night of violence in Nantes

05 July, 2018, 19:00 | Author: Myra Gill
  • Protesters in Nantes gesture to police during clashes

Interior ministry Gerard Collomb strongly condemned the violence in a written statement Wednesday.

Local police chief Jean-Christophe Bertrand said the 22-year-old man was pulled over during a traffic check, but his identity was "not clear and officers received orders to bring the driver to the police station".

Rioters set fire to several dozen cars for a second night running Wednesday and fought pitched battles with the police in the low-income district of Breil where Tuesday's shooting took place and surrounding neighbourhoods. He was hit in the neck and declared dead on arrival at hospital.

Mr Philippe confirmed that 11 protesters had been taken into police custody on charges of violence and arson, before stressing that there would be a "transparent investigation" into the driver's death.

The 2016 death in police custody of a young black man Adama Traoré, which is still being investigated, sparked nationwide riots and led to accusations of police brutality and a state cover-up.

Pierre Sennes, the public prosecutor for Nantes, did not comment on the witness's claim, but said police were investigating "the facts and in what circumstances the police officer used his weapon".


In January, the government vowed a crackdown on urban violence after shocking video footage emerged of a policewoman being beaten by a crowd in the Paris suburbs on New Year's Eve.

Police had boosted their presence in the area after a series of violent incidents on June 28. Rioting and auto burnings also occurred in the areas of Dervallieres and Malakoff. There were fires in the bins, the cars. "It lasted ages", he said, adding that things later calmed down.

A woman who filmed the incident but did not wish to give her name told French journalists: "There were no police behind the vehicle".

A young man who gave his name as Chris told local paper Ouest France that the victim was "a sweet guy" who "always had a smile on his face". "For us, he was a kid from the neighbourhood".

French riot police officers patrol in Nantes.

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