France riots: Mayor’s home attacked as hundreds more are arrested during fifth night of unrest

Mayor’s wife injured after rioters target house during ‘quieter night’ of nationwide disorder

Rioters ram-raided the home of a Paris suburb mayor, set the car alight and launched fireworks at his wife and young children as they fled during a fifth night of nationwide unrest over Tuesday’s police shooting of a teen of North African descent.

Vincent Jeanbrun (39), the centre-right mayor of the southern suburb of L’Hay-les-Roses, was at the town hall when his house was attacked with his wife Melanie and children asleep inside.

The rioters drove their vehicle at the suburban house but were halted by a low wall ringing the property’s outdoor terrace, the local public prosecutor said. They then torched their vehicle.

As Mr Jeanbrun’s wife and children, aged five and seven, took flight through the back garden, they were targeted with fireworks.


Mr Jeanbrun told prime minister Elisabeth Borne his wife needed surgery for a broken leg and faced a three-month rehabilitation.

“While attempting to shield them and fleeing the attackers, my wife and one of my children were hurt,” the mayor said.

The local prosecutor told reporters that an investigation into attempted murder had been open. No suspects have been arrested.

Mr Jeanbrun’s town hall has been the target of attack for several nights since Tuesday’s shooting of 17-year-old Nahel and has been protected with barbed wire and barricades.

On a walkabout hours after the incident, Mr Jeanbrun met local wellwishers and passed by the town’s covered market which has been wrecked during the unrest.

“Stay strong, Mr Mayor. We’re with you,” one man told the visibly emotional mayor.

“I didn’t think we’d ever live through something like this,” the mayor told another bystander who wished his wife well.

“It’s pretty disgusting,” she replied.

The French government said rioting and violence were more subdued in the fifth night of unrest since a police officer killed teenager Nahel in a suburb northwest of Paris.

The interior ministry said 719 people were arrested on Saturday night, fewer than the 1,311 the previous night and 875 on Thursday night.

“Forty-five thousand police officers and thousands of firefighters have been mobilised to enforce order. Their action ... made for a quieter night,” the ministry said on its Twitter account.

The biggest flashpoint overnight was Marseilles, where police fired tear gas and fought street battles with youths around the city centre late into the night.

French president Emmanuel Macron cancelled a state visit to Germany that was supposed to start Sunday so he could deal with the domestic situation.

Earlier in the week, Mr Macron called on parents and social medial to help bring an end to the violence.

“Quieter night thanks to the resolute action of the police who have made 427 arrests since the start of the evening,” minister for interior affairs Gerald Darmanin wrote on Twitter early Sunday.

On its website, the Department of Foreign Affairs advised Irish visitors to France: “You should exercise caution, remain aware of your surroundings, and vacate any area where disturbances are taking place.”

“The public transport network is currently disrupted, and a number of towns and cities have imposed curfews. You should monitor local media carefully and follow official advice.”

A private funeral was held Saturday at a mosque in a suburb near Paris for Nahel, a 17-year-old boy of North African descent, Agence France-Presse reported.

The funeral of Nahel took place in Nanterre, where he was fatally shot at close range in a car. Video posted on social media showed two police officers leaning into the vehicle, with one of them shooting as the driver pulls away.

The officer who fired the shot on Nahel has been charged with murder and is being held in pretrial detention. Pascal Prache, the Nanterre prosecutor, said Thursday the legal conditions for the use of a weapon were not met.

Ten shopping malls, more than 200 supermarkets, 250 tobacco shops and 250 bank outlets were attacked or looted, minister for finance Bruno Le Maire said Saturday.

“The violence and looting across the nation is totally unacceptable,” he said. “These acts are inexcusable.”

Laurent-Franck Lienard, a lawyer for the officer, told Europe 1 radio that the policeman believed he “needed” to shoot.

Nahel’s mother, identified only as Mounia, said in an interview with France 5 that she didn’t blame the police force.

“I blame one person, the one who took my son’s life,” she said. “He saw an Arab face, a little kid. He wanted to take his life.” – Bloomberg