Paris June 30 2023: France's interior minister said on Friday the coming hours would be decisive as he sent 45,000 police onto the streets following three nights of riots since an officer shot dead a teenager at a traffic stop in a working class suburb of Paris.
The violence, in which buildings and vehicles have been torched and stores looted, has plunged President Emmanuel Macron into the gravest crisis of his leadership since the Yellow Vest protests that started in 2018.
Unrest has flared nationwide, including in cities such as Marseille, Lyon, Toulouse, Strasbourg and Lille as well as Paris where Nahel M., a 17-year-old of Algerian and Moroccan descent, was shot on Tuesday in the Nanterre suburb.
His death, which was caught on video, has reignited longstanding complaints by poor, racially mixed, urban communities of police violence and racism.
"The next hours will be decisive and I know I can count on your flawless efforts," Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin wrote to firefighters and police officers, seeking to quell the unrest that has been breaking out after nightfall.
He asked local authorities to halt bus and tram traffic from 9 p.m. (1900 GMT) across France and later said 45,000 officers from the police forces would be deployed on Friday evening.