France is facing a wave of violent unrest and widespread arrests following the fatal police shooting of a teenage boy of North African descent in a Paris suburb on Tuesday. The incident has sparked outrage and accusations of police brutality and racism in a country already tense over social and economic issues.
The boy, identified as Nahel M., was shot in the chest by a police officer during a traffic check in the town of Nanterre on Tuesday morning. A video of the shooting, which showed Nahel lying on the ground while the officer pointed his gun at him, circulated on social media and triggered angry protests in Nanterre and other cities across France.
The officer, who has not been named, was arrested and charged with voluntary homicide, a crime equivalent to manslaughter. He faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted.
The killing of Nahel, a French citizen of Algerian and Moroccan descent, has reignited longstanding grievances about the treatment of ethnic minorities by the French police, who have been accused of racial profiling, excessive force and impunity. Many protesters compared Nahel’s death to that of George Floyd, an African American man who was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis last year, sparking a global movement against racism and police violence.