Looting and fires are recorded amid protests in France

Small scattered groups played on Thursday at cat and mouse before a large police contingent in Lille, in the north of Francewhere three nights of violence have left municipal councils burned or stoned, looting and damage.

Like other French cities, this city ​​of a million and a half of inhabitants near the border with Belgium is riot scene since Tuesday, when a young man was shot to death by a police officer in Nanterre, near Paris.

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In the popular neighborhood of Wazemmes, the firefighters finish extinguishing the fire that damaged the ground floor of the district town hall, now with the blackened façade, at dawn.

Burning a town hall is useless,” Sofiane, a 22-year-old bus driver, considers in front of the building, while fireworks can be heard in the distance.

The policeman who did this didn’t have to do it,” he says of the officer who shot the young teenager Nahel. “But attacking public places, who cares, has nothing to do with it.”

It is inadmissible”, this “affects the population”, is indignant Brice Lauret, a neighborhood councilor who went to the scene. “I can understand the anger, but not the violence,” he adds.

In another poor neighbourhood, in Fives, the district town hall was stoned and its windows smashed, Lille’s mayor’s office said.

And there is “a lot of looting” of shops and supermarkets, he added. Those responsible are “small, highly mobile groups, made up of very young (people)”, who hit “everywhere”.

Strong police deployment

The city is packed with police forces, including elite units, and hovered over by a helicopter and surveillance drones after the violence the night before.

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After midnight, tensions were rising in Roubaix, one of the poorest municipalities in France. The police blocked access to a theater with numerous broken glass.

Beside the remains of a burning barricade they finished consuming and fireworks flew in the sky.

The first incidents began around 9:00 p.m. in the area of ​​the Lille central police station, where the prefecture had prohibited any congregation.

Mobile and dispersed, small groups of young people set fire to containers and vehicles and smashed shop windows on a shopping street. Some broke the window of a supermarket to get some soft drinks.

The agents, aboard an armored vehicle, intervened several times to try to disperse them.

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The prefecture, which had prohibited any congregation in that area, announced the arrest of six people in that sector and a total of 24 in the city at the beginning of the night.

The police think that everything is allowed. They have killed an innocent young man, they should stop,” said a 16-year-old bystander.

Nahel’s death is too serious, it is unjustified,” considers a young man in his twenties near that place.

But the reaction is wrong. Degrading public services is of no use “because” it is our money that is going to repair all this, “he adds.

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