The protests and huge unrest in France have continued to cause panic and pandemonium across the European nation.
On the fifth night of the unrest which was triggered by the tragic police shooting and subsequent funeral of a 17-year-old, French authorities took action by deploying additional personnel to cities facing heightened tensions. By early Sunday, hundreds of arrests had already been made.
According to the interior ministry, a total of 486 individuals had been apprehended throughout France as of 3:00 am (0100 GMT) Sunday. However, it appeared that the intensity of violence had decreased compared to the initial outbreak of riots following the death of Nahel M. in the Paris suburb of Nanterre on Tuesday.
“A calmer night thanks to the resolute action of the security forces,” Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin tweeted early Sunday.
Darmanin had told reporters earlier that 45,000 members of the security forces would be deployed overnight — 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.
In Paris and its nearby regions, where around 7,000 officers were out in force, 194 people had been arrested as of 3:00 am Sunday.
In Marseille, police dispersed groups of youths Saturday evening at Canebiere, the main avenue running through the centre of the city, AFP journalists said.
By midnight, the authorities in Lyon and Marseille were reporting fewer incidents than the previous night, with 77 people arrested as of around 1:30 am in the two cities.
A number of towns have imposed overnight curfews.
The protests over the death of Nahel, who was of Algerian origin, have again exposed the severe racial tensions in modern France, increasing scrutiny on the police, who have long been accused of singling out minorities.
The crisis is a hugely unwelcome development for President Emmanuel Macron, who was looking forward to pressing on with his second mandate after seeing off months of protests that erupted in January over raising the pensions age.
In a sign of the seriousness of the crisis, he postponed a state visit to Germany scheduled to begin Sunday.
Nahel’s funeral ceremony was held on Saturday in Nanterre, where he lived, with hundreds gathering peacefully along with his mother and grandmother.
A ceremony took place in the early afternoon at the mosque in Nanterre, and he was interred in the giant Mont Valerien cemetery in the area.
It finished at 1530 GMT and was marked by “reflection and without incidents”, a witness told AFP.