Death of Nahel: after two nights of violence, is the state of emergency on the table?

Alexandre Chauveau / Photo credit: Gauthier Bedrignans / Hans Lucas / Hans Lucas via AFP
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2:45 p.m., June 29, 2023

Two days after the death of young Nahel, 17, fatally shot after refusing to comply during a traffic check, the situation is explosive in Ile-de-France. For two nights, violent clashes between young people and the police, and degradations have taken place in certain districts of the Ile-de-France region. In the government, the memory of the riots in the suburbs in 2005 is in everyone’s head.

Attack against “the institutions”

Emmanuel Macron shows that he takes the events of the last two nights very seriously and convened an interministerial crisis unit this Thursday morning. A half-hour meeting in the basement of Place Beauvau. Around the president, Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne as well as the main sovereign ministers, Gérald Darmanin and Éric Dupond-Moretti. Objective for Emmanuel Macron: take stock of last night and anticipate the next few hours.

“The last few hours have been marked by scenes of violence against police stations, but also schools, town halls and therefore, basically, against institutions. And these are absolutely unjustifiable. And I want to thank all of those who, during the night like yesterday, worked to protect these institutions and restore calm”, declared Emmanuel Macron.

Ministerial trips canceled

The executive now has its eyes riveted on the white march organized this afternoon in Nanterre, with the fear of a convergence of struggles between young people from housing estates on the one hand, ultra-left on the other. And, a new fact, the dreaded presence of Islamists. On the other hand, the question of the state of emergency was not mentioned, even if the services of the ministry are ready to trigger it depending on how events unfold this afternoon and this night.

Another important element, a change in doctrine transmitted to the prefects. While appeasement was in order on Wednesday, Gérald Darmanin called now for the greatest firmness. All the police and gendarmerie personnel who can be recalled will also be in the coming hours. In the meantime, the trips of the ministers have been cancelled, with the exception of those of Gérald Darmanin, currently present in the North, and of Elisabeth Borne, who should go this afternoon to Garges-lès-Gonesse, where the town hall was set on fire during the night.

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