With videoA passenger in the car of Nahel shot dead by the police in Nanterre has made a statement about what he believes happened. He says 17-year-old Nahel’s foot slipped off the brake pedal, propelling the car forward. The police then shot Nahel dead.
Nahel, 17, was behind the wheel of a yellow, borrowed Mercedes on Tuesday morning when two motorcycle cops stopped him. The witness, whose name has not been released, was in the car with another friend and Nahel. He explains to the French TV program BFMTV what happened: ,,We decided to take a ride around Nanterre. After a few minutes we were driving on the bus lane when I saw the police motorcyclists. They started following us.”
The officers told the boys to stop. Nahel stopped the car and lowered his window. “The officer then said to him: ‘Stop the engine or I will shoot you’,” said the witness. Subsequently, Nahel was allegedly hit with the gun by the officer. According to the witness, this would have caused Nahel to release the automatic brake pedal, causing the car to move forward. The boys panicked and were about to drive away when the officer fired into the side of the vehicle. Nahel was fatally hit in the chest.
Initially, the police stated that one of the officers fired when the driver drove into them. However, a video posted on social media showed an officer leaning on the windshield and holding Nahel at close range while the car was stationary.
Nahel’s death has sparked anger and riots across France. It first became restless in Nanterre, a suburb of Paris. Violence soon spread to many other French cities. Many people are angry with the police action and accuse the force of being racist and too aggressive.
Last night, more than 1300 people were arrested, about 400 of them in Paris. At least 79 police officers were injured in the riots. According to the French newspaper Le Parisien in Vaulx-en-Velin (Lyon), four police officers were hit by bullets fired by someone on a passing scooter who shot at them with a shotgun. “A red line has been crossed,” warns Alain Barberis, department secretary of the local police union. “This is unprecedented and deeply disturbing.”
The police officers involved suffered bullet wounds in the groin, right thigh and cheek below the left eye. They are out for five to nine days. The public prosecutor of Lyon has opened an investigation.
Large crowd at funeral
Nahel was buried with great interest in Nanterre, France, on Saturday afternoon. Not all interested people could enter the Ibn Badis mosque in Nanterre, a suburb of Paris, for the funeral prayer, writes the French newspaper Le monde. Mobile barriers were placed near the building to control crowds and traffic. Barriers were placed around the mosque itself. About 200 people for whom there was no room inside, took part in the prayer outside.
State visit cancelled
French President Emmanuel Macron has canceled a planned state visit to Germany due to unrest in his country. Macron was supposed to arrive in Stuttgart on Sunday to visit Ludwigsburg, Berlin and Dresden on Monday and Tuesday.
It is not the first time that Macron’s plans have been thwarted by domestic unrest. In March, he had to ask the British King Charles to postpone his state visit to France because of the massive protests over pension reforms. It would have been Charles’s first state visit as king. If all goes well, he will catch up with the trip to France in September.
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