French riots: Sixth night of violence sees schools burned, death of firefighter, and deployment of armored vehicles as civil unrest continues

A firefighter lost his life Sunday night during the French riots while trying to put out an underground parking garage fire

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: John Cody
A group of police officers walk during a protest in Nanterre, outside Paris, France, Saturday, July 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Lewis Joly)

On Sunday night, the sixth night of rioting in France, schools were burned, dozens of cars were set on fire, and police fought running battles with rioters in a variety of French cities.

Footage of a school in Paris posted to Twitter showed massive flames shooting into the air.

It was another fire in a long string of fires targeting schools, libraries and kindergartens. Although the burning of the Marseilles public library was widely reported, other smaller libraries and public institutions have been targeted as well. For example, on the night of Friday going into Saturday, a kindergarten and neighborhood center in Clermont-Ferrand in the center of Croix-de-Neyrat were set on fire and ransacked.

The rioters have continued to target hundreds of cars with arson across France, and Sunday night was no different. Residential buildings also continue to be targeted, with entire buildings continuously going up in flames.

According to France’s Le Parisien newspaper, a young firefighter also lost his life while putting out an arson fire in an underground parking garage in the multicultural neighborhood of Saint-Denis in Paris. The raging fire saw 200 firefighters arrive on the scene, with the Master Corporal Dorian Damelincourt dying of cardiac arrest from smoke inhalation after being transported to Percy Military Hospital. Firefighters have been routinely targeted during the riots, with a case of attempted murder opened in the French city of Mulhouse after six firefighters were pelted with stones and their firetruck was doused with gasoline and lit on fire while they were still inside.

Over the last few days, protesters have been filmed stealing guns and aiming them at police lines. In some cases, police officers have been shot, with one officer in Nimes being saved from a 9mm round fired at him during the riots due to the officer’s bulletproof vest. Over 45,000 police officers have been deployed to quell the riots, including elite units with armored personal carriers.

Police officers have also been subject to arson attacks, including Molotov cocktails thrown at both their vehicles and police stations.

Scenes of mass looting have dominated social media as well, with young foreigners and those of migrant origin looting stores and warehouses across the country, including in busy downtown shopping areas in broad daylight.

More than 700 people were arrested in France on Saturday night, the fifth day of social unrest.

The country’s media, including state media like France24, is attempting to claim that the violence is due to “poverty.”

“Poverty, lack of jobs and lack of opportunities are problems that have plagued many of the poorer suburbs surrounding Paris and other French cities for decades despite efforts to improve conditions by multiple French presidents,” says France 24’s international affairs commentator Douglas Herbert.

The riots started after a 17-year-old boy, Nahel M., of Algerian origin, was shot dead by a policeman in Nanterre, west of Paris, on Tuesday morning after not cooperating with police during a traffic stop. The teen, although only 17, had a lengthy criminal record.

On Friday, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki published a video contrasting the calm in Polish cities versus the ongoing riots in France, highlighting the importance of protecting Europe’s borders. The timing is not coincidental, as EU member states blame Poland and Hungary for rejecting the new migration pact, which Hungary and Poland argue would help facilitate millions of more migrants into Europe.

Critics of Polish policy, however, note that the country’s conservative government has brought in a record number of Third World migrants in 2022 and has been actively advertising in countries like India and Nigeria to recruit workers for the country.

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