PARIS – On June 27th., police in Nanterre, France shot and killed 17 year-old Nahel Merzouk after the unlicensed Merzouk allegedly failed to completely comply when ordered to stop his vehicle.
In the days that followed, at least 45,000 French Police officers were mobilized to gain control of the crowds that rioted, smashed windows, torched 5,600 cars, burned down at least 1,000 private properties, and damaged some 250 police stations across France, Reuters reports.
PBS reports that 3,500 people have been arrested since the riots began. The rioters have used social media sites to communicate and rally quickly. Social media such as SnapChat, Tik Tok and Telegram are coming under fire for their abilities to monitor the unrest in real-time. According to the French government, the spread of inaccurate or false information by unidentified users on social media has possibly added to the escalation and unrest in France.
Earlier this week, when updating 200 mayors about the steps he was taking to control the riots, Macron said that the French government might need to block social media access during times of unrest. Politicians, common people, and rioters likened Marcron and his comments to Kim Jong Un, the repressive North Korean dictator who suppresses freedom of speech, communication, and thought.
Some content provided by Reuters, AP, New York Times, PBS, Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times.