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Teenage rioter says French police should wear body cameras to rebuild trust | World News

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One of the teenagers in the middle of the rioting in Paris has warned that violence could return at any moment.

The 17-year-old, who joined the disorder on two consecutive nights last week, agreed to meet us on a side street in a Paris suburb.

He told Sky News that if the police were involved in another similar shooting it would erupt again.

“If there is another police abuse, I will not stay in my room,” he said.

“If the violence of the police heightens then the violence of us will heighten.”

Police officers patrol in front of the Arc de Triomphe during the disorder

Demonstrators block a street with wheelie bins outside Paris. Pic: AP
Demonstrators block a street with wheelie bins outside Paris. Pic: AP

It’s now a week since the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Nahel Merzouk which saw violence erupt in Paris and quickly spread to other cities and towns across France.

The teenager that we spoke to is one of Paris Saint-Germain football club’s ultra fans but said the disorder was not directly orchestrated by fellow supporters.

He joined a crowd of over a thousand troublemakers last Wednesday in Nanterre, the suburb where the fatal police shooting happened, after seeing videos on Snapchat.

The subsequent night he joined the disorder in the northern suburb of Aubervilliers where a bus depot was burned down.

The teenager said he did not loot stores himself but felt “revolted” by the death of Nahel and compelled to take action.

He claimed he hadn’t broken the law and said that rioting was simply inevitable after the fatal shooting.

Read more on the France riots
‘It’s not riots – it’s war’, says French police chief
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Windows of shops were covered with boards in Paris after disorder broke out last week
Windows of shops were covered with boards in Paris after disorder broke out last week

He also addressed the public outrage over the attack on the home of a mayor in a southern suburb of Paris where a burning car was driven at his property.

The mayor described it as an “assassination attempt” and a senior police officer said they were in “a war” with rioters who wanted to kill his officers.

“There is no link with the death of Nahel,” he insisted.

“Everyone who came on the riots, not everyone agreed with that (attack).

“Nobody liked that, this is a very extreme group with very few people (involved).”

Peace now appears to have returned to the neighbourhoods that saw the worst of the rioting and looting.

The police have deployed 45,000 officers to the streets of France to combat the threat of further disorder.

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The 17-year-old protester said: “It’s life and we fight for more power, more rights, more justice but it’s complicated, this problem will not fix in one year or one day.”

He said police regularly wearing body cameras would help rebuild trust between young people and the authorities.

“This is proof we need to film every time police come to young people – with this video the next Nahel could be saved.”

When we asked what the rioting had achieved, he paused and said: “We don’t know, we will know that when the policeman will be judged.

“There are a lot of fights to do to have justice in this country.”

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