A GoFundMe campaign created in support of the French police officer who fatally shot Nahel Merzouk has eclipsed $1.4 million as of Monday night, nearly four times the amount of a similar fundraiser started for Merzouk’s mother.
Several cities in France have been engulfed in riots and riots following the death of Merzouk last Tuesday. Merzouk was shot dead by a police officer during a traffic stop in Nanterre, a northwestern suburb of Paris. Video of the 17-year-old’s death was later posted on social media, directly contradicting initial police claims that Merzouk had attempted to run over officers during the interaction.
The officer who drew his weapon at Merzouk, who was unarmed at the time, was arrested on Thursday and placed under formal investigation by the Nanterre prosecutor’s office on charges of voluntary manslaughter. reported The New York Times. However, amid violent riots led largely by teenagers, support for the accused officer has grown online, including through a fundraising page started by far-right political commentator Jean Messiha.
Starting Monday night, the GoFundMe Page because the French officer had raised more than $1.4 million in four days, which Messiha said on the page is “for the family of the Nanterre policeman, Florian.M, who has done his job and is now paying a heavy price.” .
At the time of publication, a similar fundraising created for Merzouk’s mother on the French crowdfunding site leetchi had raised approximately $342,147. According to the fundraising site, donations began the day Merzouk was shot.
“1 million euros. His world collapses”, Messiha tweeted Monday in the morning. “Ours has been reborn. Thank you and well done!”
Several politicians have condemned the fundraiser created for the Nanterre officer and have called on GoFundMe to remove the page, including manon aubry, Member of the European Parliament and representative of the left-wing party La France Insoumise.
“Close to a million euros raised at the initiative of a far-right polemicist in support of a policeman who kills a teenager,” Aubry tweeted on Monday. “The message? A young Arab is worth killing. And the government turns a blind eye.”
A GoFundMe spokesperson said political on Monday, however, that he has no intention of removing the controversial fundraiser, adding that it does not violate the platform’s rules.
Thousands of people have been arrested during nearly a week of unrest following Merzouk’s death, which has been marked by violent acts of looting, arson and clashes with police forces. Protesters and riot supporters say the shooting is an example of a pattern of racism in French law enforcement.
But peaceful counter-protests began Monday after an attack on the home of Vincent Jeanbrun, a suburban Paris mayor. according to a report From Reuters, while Jeanbrun was at town hall on Sunday, rioters set a car on fire and launched fireworks at his wife and two young children as they tried to flee the attack. Jeanbrun said his wife and one of his children were injured in the incident.
Merzouk’s relatives have called for an end to the violence, including a family member who he told the bbc on Monday that they “never called for hatred or riots.”
“Walking in memory of Nahel,” the family member told the British outlet. “Walking, even being angry in the street, demonstrating, but without outbursts.”
Merzouk’s grandmother, Nadia, told French broadcaster BFM TV on Sunday that rioters were using her grandson’s death as “an excuse” adding: “I’m tired.”
“I can’t take it anymore, I can’t sleep, I turned off the TV, I turned everything off. I don’t want to hear this anymore,” he said, according to a statement. report from SkyNews who cited the BFM interview.
news week The French Ministry of the Interior and Overseas has been contacted by email for comment.