France riots: Burning car used to attack mayor’s home as some 719 arrested on fifth night of violence

France riots: Burning car used to attack mayor’s home as some 719 arrested on fifth night of violence

The home of a Paris suburb mayor was ram-raided and set alight while his wife and children were asleep as violent protests spread into a fifth night across the country.

France has been rocked by riots after 17-year-old Nahel Merzouk was shot dead by police on Tuesday.

Vincent Jeanbrun, mayor of the southern suburb of L’Hay-les-Roses, said his wife and one of their two children, aged five and seven, were injured as they fled their home in the early hours of Sunday morning.

In a statement on Twitter, he said: “A milestone was reached in horror and ignominy. My home was attacked and my family was the victim of an assassination attempt.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

“My determination to protect and serve the Republic is greater than ever. I will not back down.”

The local prosecutor told reporters that an investigation into attempted murder had been opened. No suspects have been arrested.

French prime minister Elisabeth Borne “condemned” the attack and gave her full support to the mayor and his family.

Following the latest night of violence, France’s Interior Ministry announced there were 719 arrests around the country on Saturday night, where a total of 45,000 police fanned out across the country in a so-far unsuccessful bid to quell violence.

Several schools, police stations, town halls and stores have also been targeted by fires or vandalism in recent days.

Footage online showed police in Marseille firing tear gas at protesters in a bid to disperse crowds and quell the growing unrest but interior minister Gerald Darmanin said the level of violence appeared to have declined.

“A calmer night thanks to the resolute action of the security forces,” Mr Darmanin tweeted early on Sunday.

Emmanuel Macron postponed a state visit to Germany due to the unrest, which began after the police killing of a teenager in a suburb of Paris on Tuesday afternoon.

Speaking to Sky’s Sophie Ridge On Sunday programme, Health Secretary Steve Barclay said the UK was monitoring situation across the Channel, adding: “It’s something that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office will be monitoring very closely. They keep regular updates on their website.

“And what I would say to anyone concerned about it who is thinking of travelling to France - to keep an eye on the Foreign Office website, there will be regular updates there, and that will keep people informed.”

Nahel, a takeaway delivery driver of Algerian descent, was shot in the chest at point-blank range while at the wheel of a Mercedes.

Video showed two officers at the window, one with his gun pointed at the driver. As the teenager pulled forward, he fired through the windshield.

The death of Nahel was the third fatal shooting by police during traffic stops in France in 2023.

There were a recorded 13 last year. Most victims since 2017 have been of Black or Arab origin.

The officer who killed Nahel is being held in jail. He has asked Nahel’s family for forgiveness.