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Foreign Office warned Brits traveling to France in midst of chaos

Britain updated its travel advice today to warn tourists to stay away from areas affected by the rioting across France.

The Foreign Office said: “Since 27 June, riots have taken place across France.

“Many have turned violent. Shops, public buildings and parked cars have been targeted.

“There may be disruptions to road travel and local transport provision may be reduced.”

Describing the location of riots as “unpredictable” they added that it was “more important than ever” to get travel insurance before visiting.

The Foreign Office has warned Brits traveling to France that authorities “may impose curfews” following a fourth night of unrest.

The Foreign Office also reported that a rally by a group which was planned for 1 July in Paris was banned by French authorities as a demonstration by the same group in Paris in June 2018 was the target of an attempted bomb attack.

“British nationals should reconsider any plans to attend such meetings, and if you do, be aware of your surroundings at all times, and move away quickly from disturbances,” the Foreign Office added.

The Foreign Office said on the most updated travel advice: “Before you travel, check the ‘Entry requirements’ section for France’s current entry restrictions and requirements.

“These may change with little warning. Monitor this advice for the latest updates and stay in contact with your travel provider.”

What happened

Riots across France have been increasingly violent and widespread since Tuesday when a police officer shot 17-year-old Nahel M at point-blank range after he was pulled over for traffic offences in Nanterre.

French security forces have been overwhelmed and police made more than 1,300 arrests as a fourth night of violence and looting swept France ahead of the funeral on Saturday of the teenager, The Telegraph reported.

Provisional ministry numbers released early Saturday also included 1,350 vehicles and 234 buildings torched, and 2,560 incidents of fire set in public spaces.

Increasingly violent incidents

https://twitter.com/KuchShabd29/status/1675082946053820416

After initially attacking police stations, schools and other “symbols of the Republic”, rioters have increasingly turned their attention to looting with cash dispensers rammed and restaurants, chemists, hairdressers, tax offices, tobacconists and service stations all seen as fair game.

In Noisy-le-Grand, a Paris suburb, the local secondary school was targeted. “That’s the end of the school!” one rioter can be heard chuckling.

A fire broke out at the site of an Olympic swimming pool in the capital, reported to be under construction for the 2024 games just outside Paris.

Shop windows were smashed along the Rue de Rivoli, a major road near the Louvre Museum and the Champs Elysées.

A fire destroyed tech company Tessi’s office in Roubais.

An elementary school and district office were set on fire in Lille.

A police station in the Pyrenees city was hit with a Molotov cocktail in Pau.

Looters reportedly drove a car into a Lidl supermarket, before looting the shop in Nantes.

“We are at war”, French police unions said

Alliance Police Nationale and UNSA Police, two of France’s top police unions, released an extraordinary statement suggesting that the French government’s action so far was not appropriate to deal with the situation. The Telegraph reported it as

French police unions’ statement read: “Faced with these savage hordes, calling for calm is no longer sufficient, it must be imposed!

“Restoring order and placing those arrested out of harm’s way must be the only political signals given out.

“Faced with such acts of violence, the police family must remain united.

“Our colleagues, like the majority of citizens, can no longer suffer the dictates of these violent minorities.

“It is not the time for union action but for the fight against this “vermin”.”

They ended the statement saying: “Today, the police are in combat for we are at war.

“Tomorrow, we will enter resistance and the government should be aware of this.”

State of emergency on the table

On Friday, the French president cut short a European Council meeting in Brussels for crisis talks as he said there were “no taboos” on the measures he would take to stop the rioting.

“All options” to restore order, including imposing a state of emergency, were on the table, as Macron’s prime minister confirmed.

What caused the unrest: The shooting of 17-year-old

The shooting was filmed and contradicted initial police claims they acted in self-defence.

A video showed two police officers standing by the side of the stationary car, with one pointing a weapon at the driver.

A voice is heard saying: “You are going to get a bullet in the head.”

The police officer then appears to fire as the car abruptly drives off.

Laurent-Franck Lienard, the officer’s lawyer, told BFMTV on Thursday that his client had apologised as he was taken into custody.

“The first words he pronounced were to say sorry, and the last words he said were to say sorry to the family,” he said.

“I don’t blame the police,” the teenager’s mother said

In her first media interview since the shooting, Nahel’s mother, Mounia, told the France 5 channel: “I don’t blame the police. I blame one person: the one who took the life of my son.”

She said the 38-year-old officer responsible, who was detained and charged with voluntary manslaughter on Thursday, “saw an Arab face, a little kid, and wanted to take his life”.

With “police mutiny”, MPs “at odds” and “copycat violence”, France is on the brink of “total anarchy”, The Telegraph said. 

(Images: Macron Image by Copyleft, CC BY 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

(Other Images: Twitter)

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