It is Saturday night in L’Haÿ Les Roses, a town south of Paris, and its mayor, Vincent Jeanbrun, is in the town hall monitoring the strong wave of riots that France has been experiencing since last Wednesday. In his house are his wife and his children, three and seven years old. At dawn, several hooded individuals ram a car into the house. The woman is injured in the leg when she tries to flee with her children from the back.

The attack takes place on the fifth night of violence and looting in the country after the death on Tuesday of Nahel, a 17-year-old boy, shot by a police officer at a checkpoint in Nanterre, a town on the outskirts of Paris. . This is the event that unleashes anger, first from the neighborhoods, and then from the cities. The attack on Jeanbrun has marked a turning point, it has “crossed a red line”. At a time when in some areas tranquility is beginning to recover after days of riots and the number of detainees is falling, the attacks that exist are more targeted. Nahel’s death was far away, but many take advantage of it to carry out their violent acts. .

The attackers distrust the institutions. The main pillars of the French Republic are education, justice and public order. That is why they attack police stations, schools and city halls, their symbols.

“A red line has been crossed,” said the prefect of the Paris Police, Laurent Nuñez. Since the riots began, there have been hundreds of attacks on public institutions and buildings, including city halls. “Tonight a limit has been crossed in horror and ignominy,” said the politician, who has just been appointed spokesman for the Republican party. “I will not back down and I will continue to defend the Republic,” he said on Twitter.

It is noon in L’Haÿ Les Roses, a town of 32,000 inhabitants, apparently calmer than other neighborhoods on the Parisian outskirts that have been the focus of riots these days. The street where the mayor’s house is located, in an area with terraced houses, is still cordoned off and protected on both sides by several police patrols.

A woman who walks with her bicycle tries to explain what happened: “The attack is terrible. The problem is that people in poor neighborhoods are not given alternatives. If you give them spaces to do other things than burn or destroying, they will limit these acts. What will stop the violence is not putting policemen shooting rubber bullets or tear gas, but rather providing alternatives,” says the neighbor.

The entire political class has condemned the attack. “It is an additional degree within the horror”, has said the president of the Republicans, Eric Ciotti. Jordan Bardella, from National Regroupment, Marine Le Pen’s party, agrees: “A new stage has been crossed in the wave of violence.” “It is an act of unacceptable cowardice,” agreed the Interior Minister, Gérald Darmanin, who traveled to the area together with the Prime Minister, Élisabeth Borne, to show his support for the mayor.

The last two nights the number of detainees has decreased, and the riots were now concentrated above all in cities like Marseille, which was shielded this Sunday for a sixth night of riots. Macron is chairing a meeting today to assess the situation. The Government does not want to claim victory and has decided to maintain the police force of the last three days, with 45,000 police officers on the streets. Of the 1,300 detainees on Friday, the most difficult day since this crisis began, on Saturday it went to 700, almost half.

After days of chaos in the streets of the country, the grandmother of Nahel, the young man who died on Tuesday, asked that the violence stop and that her grandson not be used to justify everything that is happening. “To the people who are causing the damage, I say: ‘Stop, don’t break windows, don’t attack schools or buses. Stop, it’s the mothers who take the buses, the ones who go out into the street. We don’t have cars anymore, we have nothing left,’ “the young man’s grandmother told BFMTV. In Aulnay-Sous-Bois, another popular neighborhood on the outskirts of Paris, a group of mothers toured various neighborhoods to ask for an end to the violence.

The association of the mayors of France has called rallies today in all the French mayors in support of Jeanbrun and in protest of the violence that their headquarters are suffering. A few months ago, in a different context than the current riots, another mayor (that of Saint-Brévin) was attacked at his home, in this case by far-right radicals. He had an escort. After the attack he submitted his resignation. There are more than 1,000 elected officials who have resigned since 2022 due to threats.

In Europe there is beginning to be concern about everything that is happening. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz expressed his concern. Macron had canceled the planned trip to Berlin on Saturday. “We are watching with concern what is happening in France and I am fully convinced that the French head of state will find the means to quickly improve the situation,” the German chancellor said in an interview with the ARD television channel.

The one who had to cancel his visit to France due to the violence was King Carlos III. He canceled his visit, in this case because the country was in the midst of protests over the approval of Macron’s controversial pension reform. They both agreed to postpone the visit until later.

According to the criteria of The Trust Project