French authorities have deployed reinforcements to flashpoint cities, making hundreds of arrests on the fifth night of unrest sparked by the fatal police shooting of a 17-year-old who was laid to rest earlier in the day.
A total of 322 people had been arrested across France as of 1:30 am [0030 GMT] on Sunday, the Interior Ministry said, though the level of violence appeared to have declined since rioting first broke out over the death of Nahel M. in the Paris suburb of Nanterre on Tuesday.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin had told reporters earlier that 45,000 members of the security forces would be deployed overnight Saturday to Sunday — the same number as the night before.
But extra forces and equipment were sent to Lyon, Grenoble and Marseille, which had previously seen intense rioting.
Earlier on Saturday, hushed and visibly anguished, hundreds of mourners from France’s Islamic community formed a solemn procession from a mosque to a hillside cemetery to bury Nahel whose killing by police has triggered days of rioting and looting across the European country.
At a hilltop cemetery in Nanterre, the Paris suburb where the teen identified only as Nahel was killed, hundreds stood along the road to pay tribute as mourners carried his white casket from a mosque to the burial site, where journalists were barred and in some cases even chased away.
Some of the men carried folded prayer rugs.
“Men first,” an official told dozens of women waiting to enter the cemetery, but Nahel’s mother, dressed in white, walked inside to applause and headed toward the grave.
Many of the men were young and Arab or Black, coming to mourn a boy who could have been them.
Inside the cemetery gate, the casket was lifted above the crowd and carried toward the grave. The men followed, some holding little boys by the hand.
As they left, some wiped their eyes. Police were nowhere to be seen.
Underscoring the gravity of the crisis, President Emmanuel Macron scrapped an official trip to Germany after a fourth straight night of unrest across France.
Officials said they were again deploying 45,000 police to the streets nationwide in an effort to head off a fifth night of violence.
By early Sunday, authorities had made several hundred new arrests.
Among those arrested were 126 people in the Paris region, 56 in Marseille and 21 in Lyon, according to a provisional tally.
Some 2,700 people have been arrested overall since the teen’s killing on Tuesday.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin tweeted late on Saturday that 200 riot police would be mobilised in the port city of Marseille, where TV showed footage of tear gas and officers in the streets as night fell.
Police said 29 people were arrested there, and at least 37 were arrested in Paris near the Champs-Elysees, where police vans were seen parked outside luxury stores in one of the capital’s most high-profile areas.
Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said more than 700 shops supermarkets, restaurants and bank branches had been “ransacked, looted and sometimes even burnt to the ground since Tuesday”.