More than 1,400 people were arrested across France on Friday as riots broke out despite a massive police deployment, according to media outlets reports.
The rioting began after a police officer shot and killed a 17-year-old on Tuesday in a Paris suburb. Nahel, who was of Moroccan and Algerian heritage, was shot dead immediately after swerving off the road during a traffic stop by the police.
According to the Associated Press, the deadly shot sparked long-simmering tensions between the police and young people living in housing projects which face racial prejudice, unemployment, and poverty.
Paris was the starting point for the violence, which eventually expanded to other cities like Marseille, Lyon, Toulouse, Strasbourg, and Lille. 2,500 buildings, including police stations and government buildings, were set on fire, and many shops were robbed.
The unrest in France was harming Macron’s reputation abroad. According to the office of German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Macron called on Saturday to ask for the postponement of what would have been the first state visit to Germany by a French president in 23 years. Macron was supposed to fly to Germany on Sunday night to visit Berlin and two other German cities.
Macron’s office said he spoke with Steinmeier and, “given the internal security situation, the president (Macron) said he wishes to stay in France over the coming days.”
According to Gerald Darmanin, France’s interior minister, the average age of those detained nationwide is 17. According to Reuters, he added that more than 200 police officers have sustained injuries.
The interior minister has mandated a nationwide suspension of all public buses and trams after 9 p.m. and warned social media platforms not to be used as platforms for inciting more violence.
“We will pursue every person who uses these social networks to commit violent acts,” he said, according to the Associated Press.