Grandmother of killed French teen urges calm as mayor’s home attacked

The grandmother of the French teenager killed by police sparking riots called for calm Sunday as the home of the mayor of a Paris suburb was attacked with a burning car in a new eruption of violence.

The government of President Emmanuel Macron has been battling five nights of violent protests since 17-year-old Nahel M. was shot dead in the Paris suburb of Nanterre on Tuesday by an officer during a traffic check.

The killing of Nahel M, who was of Algerian origin, has revived longstanding accusations of institutional racism within the French police, which rights groups say single out minorities during stops.

Seeking to quell what has become one of the biggest challenges to Macron since he took office in 2017, the interior ministry said it would deploy 45,000 police and gendarmes nationwide overnight Sunday to Monday, the same figure as the previous two nights.

The ministry said 719 people were arrested overnight, around half the figure of the previous night. Intense clashes were nevertheless reported in several places, including the southern city of Marseille.

“Stop and do not riot,” Nahel’s grandmother, Nadia, told BFM television in a telephone interview, saying that the rioters were only using his death as a “pretext”.

“I tell the people who are rioting this: Do not smash windows, attack schools or buses. Stop! It’s the mums who are taking the bus, it’s the mums who walk outside,” she said.

Adding she was “tired”, Nadia said: “Nahel, he is dead. My daughter had only one child, and now she is lost, it’s over, my daughter no longer has a life. And as for me, they made me lose my daughter and my grandson.”

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