The mayor of a Paris suburb has said his home was attacked early Sunday morning, calling it “an assassination attempt” on his family amid ongoing unrest in the country.
“At 1:30 a.m., while I was at the city hall like the past three nights, individuals rammed their car upon my residence before setting fire to it to burn my house, inside which my wife and my two young children slept,” said mayor Vincent Jeanbrun of L’Haÿ-les-Roses, a commune in the southern suburbs of Paris, in a statement.
“While trying to protect the children and escape the attackers, my wife and one of my children were injured.”
Jeanbrun said that he had “no words strong enough to describe his emotion towards the horror of this night” and thanked police and rescue services for their help.
France has been rocked by a wave of protests following the death of Nahel Merzouk, a 17-year-old of Algerian descent who was shot by a police officer in Nanterre earlier in the week and whose funeral took place on Saturday at a mosque in Nanterre amid a heavy security presence.
The youth’s death has reignited a debate on policing in France’s marginalized communities and raised questions over whether race was a factor in his death.
His mother, Mounia, told television station France 5 on Friday that she blamed only the officer who shot her son for his death. Nonetheless, the killing has sparked widespread destructive unrest.
While the French government has deployed security forces and riot police across the country, the unrest continued with another night of protests.
More than 700 people were detained across France overnight, according to a provisional tally from the Interior Ministry.
The statement added 45 police officers and gendarmes had been injured overnight, while 74 buildings including 26 police and gendarmes stations were damaged and 577 vehicles set on fire.
The previous night, more than 1,300 people were detained and 2,560 fires reported on public roads.
Many of those detained since the unrest began on Tuesday are minors, with an average age of 17, according to Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin.
Meanwhile, China has warned its citizens in France to remain vigilant after a bus carrying a Chinese tour group in the southern city of Marseille had its windows smashed, resulting in multiple minor injuries, the country’s foreign ministry said in a statement Sunday.
China’s Consulate General in Marseille has lodged an official complaint and urged French authorities to ensure the safety of Chinese citizens and property amid the unrest.
The ministry did not say when the incident took place or how many people were injured. It said all the tourists on the group have since left France.