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Fewer arrests in France as riots ease

PARIS (AFP) – Clashes between French police and rioters de-escalated again overnight, the government said yesterday, eight days after the killing of a teenager by police sparked the worst urban violence in years.

The police remained highly mobilised with 45,000 officers patrolling the streets, the interior ministry said.

Police counted 16 arrests in the night to yesterday nationwide, it said, of which seven were in or around Paris.

At the weekend peak of rioting, 1,300 arrests were made in a single night.

Eight buildings were damaged from Tuesday to yesterday, 202 bins or other street infrastructure set on fire, and 159 vehicles torched, the ministry said.

Four police stations came under attack, but nobody was injured.

French President Emmanuel Macron suggested on Tuesday that the peak of rioting had passed, although he remained “cautious”.

The government has battled riots and looting since an officer killed 17-year-old Nahel M during a traffic stop on June 27 in a Paris suburb, rekindling long-standing accusations of systemic racism among security forces.

Messages and flowers brought by people for the slain 17-year-old teenage boy Nahel M are seen at Nanterre, France. PHOTO: AFP