France burnt for a fifth night as rioters rampaged through major cities, torching cars and trashing buildings – prompting the drastic deployment of French special forces in an attempt to stop the mayhem from escalating.
Up to 7,000 police were deployed into Paris overnight – joining a nationwide force of 45,000 officers – as the civil unrest continued to deepen following the killing of 17-year-old Nahel Merzouk on Tuesday.
The latest violent clashes broke out just hours after hundreds of people attended the open-coffin funeral of Nahel, whose alleged ‘execution’ by police during a traffic stop sparked this week’s carnage, which has seen 2,400 people arrested nationwide.
Columns of riot police, armed with shields and helmets and supported by armoured vehicles, were seen storming protesters in the southern city of Marseille, where mobs were blasted with tear gas.
While in an escalation of the French government’s response to the crisis, troops from France’s elite special forces, the GIGN – similar to the SAS, were scrambled to reinforce officers during the uprising.
In Paris, riot police formed a ring of steel the city’s iconic Arc de Triomphe as officers – supported by armoured cops on motorbikes – pushed back against the protesters.
Read more: France burns for a fifth night: Special forces deployed as rioters rampage through Paris and Marseille, torching cars hours after hundreds of family and friends attended funeral of boy, 17, ‘executed’ by police