The French government has called for calm after police in the western city of Nantes clashed with protesters overnight. The protesters rioted over the death of a young driver who had tried to avoid a checkpoint and was shot by an officer.
The young man, in his early 20s, hit a policeman as he reversed his car away from the control point. Another officer to opened fire, fatally wounding the driver, according to a police source speaking to the Reuters news agency on Wednesday.
Police authorities were investigating the officer’s actions and decision to use his firearm, the police source said.
Rioters damaged some 30 cars and several buildings after news spread that the youth was shot dead.
Youths threw Molotov cocktails and clashed with police in the northwestern neighbourhood of Breil where the shooting happened before the unrest spread to two other poor districts.
The riots ended in the early hours of Wednesday after police sent in reinforcements.
Burned-out cars and splintered glass from smashed windows littered the streets on Wednesday morning.
“I’m appealing for absolute calm, as the rule of law will be completely respected,” France‘s Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet told RTL radio on Wednesday.
Interior Minister Gerard Collomb condemned the violence saying “all the necessary resources” were being mobilised to “calm the situation and prevent any further incidents”.