UPDATE 4 - 1,000 arrested during violent protests in France: Interior minister

UPDATE 4 - 1,000 arrested during violent protests in France: Interior minister

Protesters as young as 13 among arrested overnight, says Gerald Darmanin


By Gizem Taskin Nicollet and Esra Taskin

PARIS (AA) - About 1,000 protesters have been arrested in France with an average age of 17, during violent protests sparked by the killing of a teen by police, the interior minister said Friday.

Gerald Darmanin said in an interview with the French TF1 channel, that 45,000 police officers have been deployed across the country in preparation for a possible fourth night of protests.

He said 197 protesters were arrested Thursday during nationwide demonstrations with protesters as young as 13 arrested.

Noting that more special police and gendarmerie forces will be on duty, the interior minister said there will be armored vehicles and helicopters to avoid more violent protests.

He acknowledged sadness is legitimate because of the death of Nahel M, 17, however, he underlined it does not justify what is happening.

Darmanin also emphasized that authorities will sue anyone who uses social media to commit violence.

Regarding the "war" remarks by two police unions -- UNSA Police and Alliance Police -- Darmanin said, "These are not my statements."

The unions released a statement Friday on the protests that said: "Today, Policeman are fighting because we are at war."

"Against those savage hordes, asking for calm isn’t an option, it must be imposed," it said.

Fifteen people were arrested in Creteil, 11.7 kilometers (7.2 miles) from Paris, after protesters caused multiple damages and set fire to garbage cans, French broadcaster BFMTV reported, citing a police source.

The Interior Ministry said 11 people were arrested in Strasbourg where the opera house was damaged. All stores were closed after protesters targeted businesses, including the Apple store.

Meanwhile, lawmakers from the left-wing coalition La France Insoumise (LFI) party in the National Assembly urged the government to organize a debate on the riots on the assembly floor, proposing the implementation of an "emergency plan" aimed at addressing "police violence."

And a 19-year-old male died Friday after he fell from the roof of a supermarket around 5 a.m. local time in northwestern France during protests, the France Bleu Normandie newspaper reported.

France has seen a wave of violent protests since a police officer shot dead Nahel M. in the Paris suburb of Nanterre on June 27.

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