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France Turmoil Eases Somewhat

FILE: French riot police officers walk next to a vehicle upside down during the fifth day of protests Saturday following the death of Nahel, a 17-year-old teenager killed by a French police officer in Nanterre during a traffic stop, in Paris, France, July 2, 2023.

PARIS — Unrest across France sparked by the police shooting of a 17-year-old appeared to slow on its sixth night Sinday, but fires and vandalism continued to target public buildings, cars and municipal trash cans overnight into Monday. The Interior Ministry says there were 157 arrests overnight.

Across France, 297 vehicles were torched overnight along with 34 buildings, many of them linked to the government. In all, a total of 99 city halls have been attacked, according to the Interior Ministry.

The riots over the police shooting of French-Algerian "Nahel M" appeared driven by a teenage backlash. The interior minister said the average age of those arrested was 17 and that children as young as 12 or 13 had been detained for attacking law enforcement and setting fires..

A 24-year-old firefighter died of a heart attack while responding to a blaze in an underground garage that spread to the apartment building above, according to Paris police. The cause of the fire was under investigation, they said in a statement.

A burning car stuck the home of the mayor of the Paris suburb of L’Hay-les-Roses over the weekend, an unusually personal attack amid the backdrop of fires and vandalism targeting police stations and town halls.

French President Emmanuel Macron has blamed social media for the spread of the unrest, and called on parents to take responsibility for their teenagers. Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti told France Inter radio that parents who abdicated that responsibility “either through disinterest or deliberately” would be prosecuted.

He was cautious when asked whether he thought the protests had eased definitively.