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150 arrested in France amid violent protests over police killing teen

At least 150 people have been arrested in France amid violent nationwide protests that erupted over the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old driver by the police at a traffic stop, authorities said on Thursday.

Taking to Twitter on Thursday, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said that “town halls, schools and police stations were set on fire or attacked” during a second straight night of “intolerable violence” on Wednesday, reports CNN.

On Tuesday,  Nahel M was shot at point-blank range as he refused a traffic stop and drove away.

Videos circulating on social media showed protesters setting cars ablaze and ransacking shops on Wednesday night.

In Nanterre, the suburb from where Nahel came from, the police were forced to partially withdraw, the BBC quoted French newspaper Le Monde as saying.

In Paris, the demonstrators targeted police stations with fireworks despite the presence of 2,000 additional security personnel.

On Tuesday night, 24 police officers were injured and 40 cars were set ablaze in the capital city.

Meanwhile, in the northern city of Lille, clashes broke out between the protesters and police.

Also on Wednesday, about 300 people gathered in the town of Renne to pay tribute to the teenager were dispersed by police, reports the BBC.

The officer who allegedly shot the teenager was taken into custody on Tuesday and will undergo questioning by prosecutors, Nanterre prosecutor’s office told CNN.

On Thursday morning, President Emmanuel Macron chaired a meeting of the interministerial crisis unit over the incident and subsequent protests, according to the Interior Ministry.

“We have seen scenes of violences against the police stations but also schools, city halls, therefore against institutions and against the republic,” Macron told reporters before the meeting.

“These actions are completely unjustifiable.”

Macron’s earlier reaction to the shooting, which he termed “unforgivable”, drew criticisms from police unions, who accused him of rushing to judge the officers involved.

The Alliance Police union called for them to be presumed innocent until found guilty, while the rival Unite SGP Police also spoke of political interventions that encouraged “anti-cop hatred”.

Darmanin said he would be taking legal action against another group, France Police, after it published what he called an “unacceptable and abject” tweet seeking to justify the teenager’s killing.

The officer accused of killing Nahel, who said he had fired because he felt his life was in danger, is in custody on charges of voluntary manslaughter, reports the BBC.

Nahel is the second person this year in France to have been killed in a police shooting during a traffic stop.

Last year, a record 13 people died in this way.

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