Protesters armed with fireworks clashed with riot police in a Paris suburb overnight after a 17-year-old man was shot dead by police during a traffic stop /

Thirty-one people were arrested in clashes that burned 40 cars, most in Nanterre, the Paris suburb where the victim was from, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said on Wednesday.

Video footage showed at least one burning building and burned barricades on the road. Sporadic clashes between youths and police took place. Some groups set fire to barricades and rubbish bins, vandalized a bus shelter and threw firecrackers at police, who responded with tear gas and stun grenades.

Darmanin called for calm on BFMTV on Wednesday morning, saying “justice must be done and the truth told.” Some 2,000 police have been mobilized in the region, she said.

Prosecutors have opened a murder investigation and Mr. Darmanin said the Police officer implicated in the shooting would be suspended from duty if charges were brought against him.

Paris Police Chief Laurent Nunez told BFMTV that “this act raises my doubts” and that the justice system would decide whether or not it was appropriate.

The two officers who conducted the traffic stop, between the ages of 38 and 40, were experienced, Darmanin said.

A video shared on social networks, verified by Reuters, shows two police officers next to the car, a Mercedes AMG, one of whom fires as the driver drives away. A passenger in the car was briefly detained and released, and police are searching for another passenger who fled.

Local resident and anti-racism activist Mornia Labssi, who said she had spoken to the victim’s family, said her name was Nael and that she was of Algerian origin.

A lawyer for Nael’s family, Yassine Bouzrou, told The Associated Press that they want the investigation transferred to a different region because they fear investigators in Nanterre will not be impartial. In a statement, the team of three attorneys representing the family rejected a police statement suggesting the officers’ lives were in danger because the driver had threatened to run them over.

The government will hold a security meeting on Wednesday afternoon to discuss next steps, Darmanin said.

French actor Omar Sy expressed his support for the victim’s family on Twitter, calling for “justice to honor the memory of this child.”

Paris Saint-Germain footballer Kylian Mpabbe tweeted anguish emojis, writing: “I’m suffering for my France. An unacceptable situation.”

There have been two fatal shootings during traffic stops in France so far in 2023.

In 2022, a record 13 people died in such circumstances, compared with three in 2021 and two in 2020, according to a Reuters tally.

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