The riots across France continue for the fourth time as family and friends prepare to bury the 17-year-old whose killing by police sparked the riots.
And more chaos is expected this morning at the funeral of Nahel Merzouk – the driver whose police shooting at the wheel sparked nationwide riots.
Last night nearly 1,000 protesters were arrested and 79 officers injured, despite the French government’s indication that violence is beginning to ease.
Thousands of mourners are expected to attend the Muslim rites for the Franco-Algerian youth who was allegedly “executed” by a single shot on Tuesday.
The officer responsible – identified as Florian, 38 – remains in custody on charges of murder.
The northwest Paris suburb of Nanterre is expected to become the focus of ongoing unrest at Nahel’s funeral this morning.
Thousands are expected to attendfrom Nahel, who lived with his mother Mounia on a council estate in Nanterre.
Her lawyers have accused the police officer responsible for her son’s death of “cold-blooded murder”.
The grieving mother said: “He was my beautiful baby. You took my heart.”
Nahel was of Franco-Algerian background and protesters said the teenager’s death was an example of the discrimination such ethnic minorities suffer.
Two of France’s leading police unions wrote in a scathing statement: “In the face of these rampaging hordes, calling for calm is no longer enough, it must be enforced!”
They went on to say the police were waging a war on “vermin” and threatened a riot.
President Emmanuel Macron on Friday chaired the French equivalent of a COBRA meeting – the second in two days – at which he attempted to resolve the national crisis.
He then said he was ready “to do everything possible to restore public order”.
Macron was criticized for attending an Elton John concert the day after Nahel’s death – a move heavily criticized by France’s political parties for failing to declare a state of emergency.
Thierry Mariani of the National Rally said: “While France was ablaze, Macron did not stand by his home secretary or the police, but rather applauded Elton John.”
Armed police and other security forces are deployed across the country with 45,000 officers, supported by lightly armored vehicles.
Last night alone nearly 1,000 rioters were arrested as Home Secretary Gerald Darmanin said: “France will win, not the rioters.”
Darmanin on Friday ordered a nationwide overnight shutdown of all public buses and trams targeted by the rioters.
He also said he warns against using social networks as channels for incitement to violence.
The French national football team, together with international star Kylian Mbappe, appealed to the demonstrators to find a peaceful solution.
Mbappe said on Twitter: “Many of us come from working-class neighborhoods, we too share this feeling of pain and sadness at the murder of 17-year-old Nahel.”
“Violence solves nothing. There are other peaceful and constructive ways to express yourself.”
Rioters were spotted breaking into shops and other establishments in several cities last night.
The cities of Lyon, Grenoble and Marseille were hit hard as looters looted goods estimated to be worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.
According to police, looters broke into a gun shop in the Mediterranean port city of Marseille last night and escaped with guns.
The French government announced over the weekend that all major public gatherings that “might pose a threat to public order”, including rock concerts and sporting events, will be banned.
Thirteen people who flouted traffic stops were fatally shot by French police last year.
That year, three other people, including Nahel, died in similar circumstances, prompting calls for more accountability in France.
This week’s protests recalled the three-week riots in 2005 that followed the deaths of 15-year-old Bouna Traor and 17-year-old Zyed Benna, who were electrocuted while standing at a substation in Clichy-sous-Bois hid from the police.
British holidaymakers have now been advised by the government to avoid France as the country imposed curfews and traffic closures to stem unrest across the country.
The Foreign Office on Friday updated its travel advice in response to the violence, stating: “There has been unrest across France since June 27.”
“Some local authorities may impose curfews. The locations and timing of the riots are unpredictable.”