Emmanuel Macron has urged parents to keep teenagers at home to limit rioting in French cities – but is facing a backlash over attending an Elton John gig as the disorder took hold.
Violent protests are spreading throughout France after a 17-year-old was shot by police during a traffic stop in the Paris suburb of Nanterre on Tuesday.
France are to suspend all bus and tram services from 9pm local time amid ongoing riots over a police shooting.
In the aftermath, people took to the streets to protest, setting cars alight and throwing stones and fireworks.
President Macron is being urged to get a grip of the crisis after going to the concert on Wednesday, the day after the shooting.
Elton John’s husband posted photos of the couple meeting Mr Macron and his wife.
A video on social media also shows Mr Macron tapping his feet while the singer performs Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting.
Mr Macron has often been accused by opponents of being aloof and out of touch.
“While France was on fire, Macron was not at the side of his minister of the interior or the police, but he preferred to applaud Elton John,” said Thierry Mariani, an MEP for National Rally.
On Friday, Mr Macron blamed social media for fuelling copycat violence and said it had played a “significant role in the events of the past few days”.
Speaking in televised remarks from a crisis meeting, he mentioned TikTok and Snapchat in particular.
“We sometimes have the feeling that some of them [rioters] are living in the streets of the video games that have intoxicated them,” said the president.
Mr Macron said he would try to get “the most sensitive types of content” removed, as well as asking the sites to reveal identities of people who are promoting violence.
At least 667 people were arrested across France overnight following a third day of protests over the death of the teenager – named in local reports as Nahel M.
On Thursday, 40,000 police officers were deployed across France – nearly four times the number mobilised on Wednesday.
However, there were few signs that appeals from the government to de-escalate the situation are having any effect.
In Nanterre, where the shooting took place, protesters torched cars, barricaded streets and hurled projectiles at police following a vigil.
National police said on Thursday night that officers also faced new incidents in other areas of the country – in Marseille, Lyon, Pau, Toulouse and Lille, including fires and fireworks.