Calm Returns to France as Riots Subside after Days of Unrest

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The violent riots in France, triggered by the shooting of teenager Nahel M during a police traffic stop, appear to be calming after five days of unrest. On Sunday night, the number of arrests decreased significantly, with over 150 people arrested compared to over 700 the previous night. There have been appeals from Nahel's family and mayors for the violence to cease. Mayors have urged people to gather outside town halls on Monday to protest against the violence and looting.

In a press release issued on Sunday, an association representing the country's mayors expressed concern over the serious disturbances taking place in communes across France. They condemned the extreme violence targeting Republican symbols and emphasized the need to prevent the country from descending into chaos. The press release also mentioned the recent attack on a suburban Paris mayor's home, where rioters fired rockets at the mayor's family, treating it as an attempted murder.

Throughout the unrest, town halls have been damaged and subjected to attempted arson attacks. However, Sunday night saw a significant decrease in incidents compared to the previous week. The number of cars set on fire dropped from 1,900 on Thursday to 297, and 34 buildings were damaged or set ablaze compared to over 500 on Thursday.

French President Emmanuel Macron is scheduled to meet with mayors from 220 affected municipal areas on Tuesday. Meanwhile, on Sunday, a 24-year-old firefighter lost his life while attempting to extinguish cars set ablaze in an underground car park in Seine-Saint-Denis, north of Paris.

While a spokesperson for the Paris fire brigade stated that there is currently no formal link between the firefighter's death and the ongoing violence, the interior ministry has initiated an investigation to determine the circumstances of the fire.

Despite the deployment of around 45,000 officers across the country for the third consecutive day, there is hope that the unrest is subsiding, as Sunday witnessed a significantly quieter night. Over the weekend, Nahel's family made a plea for calm amidst the turmoil.


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