People in France turned out in large numbers to show their support for the country’s beleaguered mayors on Monday (July 3).
Sirens were sounded at noon to mobilise residents so they could turn out and demonstrate solidarity.
It comes after consecutive days of violence in French towns and cities after a police officer was charged with the shooting of a 17-year-old teenager on the outskirts of Paris.
The violence included an attack on the home of the mayor of L'Haÿ-les-Roses, a suburb south of Paris, which sent shockwaves through the country.
The Association des maires de France (AMF) subsequently called for a “civic mobilisation” outside French town halls at 12:00 on Monday.
On top of the rally outside mairies across the country, President Emmanuel Macron was set to hold a meeting on Monday regarding the riots.
The meeting will include the presidents of both the Senate and National Assembly, as well as over 200 mayors from across France.
[RASSEMBLEMENT CITOYEN]— Ville de Colombes (@VilleColombes) July 3, 2023
Suite aux évènements de ces derniers jours, les Colombien·nes se sont réuni·es, aujourd'hui, autour du Maire Patrick Chaimovitch et des élus pour un moment de cohésion et de solidarité lors du rassemblement citoyen devant l'Hôtel de Ville. #Colombes pic.twitter.com/roCJPEv27D
#Rassemblement En clôture de ce rassemblement citoyen, et en symbole d'unité totale, La Marseillaise est reprise à l'unisson sur la place de la République. @SandrineBDS @KARLOLIVE @pierre_bedier pic.twitter.com/Em4p1DhEOy— Ville de Poissy (@villepoissy) July 3, 2023
[RASSEMBLEMENT CITOYEN]— Choserot (@ChoserotC) July 3, 2023
Nous nous sommes rassemblés sur le parvis de l'Hôtel de Ville #Maxéville pour dire stop à la violence envers les élus et appeler au calme dans nos quartiers !
Nous continuerons à nous investir sans relâche pour la commune et ses habitants pic.twitter.com/OVSRbN2WMQ
Mayor’s home attacked
Evening riots spurred by the death of 17-year-old teenager Nahel have caused five nights of violence, rioting, and looting in France.
The scenes have been particularly intense in major cities (Paris, Lyon, Marseille), and in the suburbs (banlieue) and housing estates (cités) on the outskirts of larger population areas.
The home of Vincent Jeanbrun, mayor of L'Haÿ-les-Roses – a suburb just south of Paris in the Val-de-Marne department – was attacked on Saturday (July 1) night.
Whilst the mayor was at the town hall overseeing a response to the rioting, a car rammed through the gates of his home and was then set alight, causing a fire in the house.
As his wife and their two children tried to leave, rioters aimed fireworks at them, although they escaped unharmed.
The act was “a murder attempt of unspeakable cowardice… A line has been crossed” said the mayor on Sunday.
“If my priority today is to take care of my family, my determination to protect and serve the Republic is greater than before,” he added.
The attack against the mayor is the reason the AMF has called for today’s demonstrations.
“Since last Tuesday, municipalities throughout France have been the scene of serious disturbances, targeting with extreme violence the republican symbols of town halls, schools, libraries and municipal police forces,” they said in a press release.
Sunday was a quieter night
After multiple nights of violence, which saw 1,311 arrests on Friday/Saturday and 718 on Saturday/Sunday, tensions calmed on Sunday (July 2) night.
With 45,000 police and gendarmes deployed across France, only 157 arrests were made, and the Ministry of Interior reported “no major incidents”.
Alongside the attack on Mayor Jeanbrun’s house, hundreds of shops across France were looted, including a weapons store in Marseille.
Cars and buildings were set on fire, and a bus depot in Aubervilliers was set ablaze, destroying a number of vehicles.
Around 150 mairies and other government buildings have been set on fire so far during the riots, according to La Nouvelle République.