France riots see children as young as 13 arrested as Macron issues plea

France: Man calmly eats sandwich as rioters and police clash

Children as young as 13 are among the hundreds of people arrested during the riots and protests that have erupted across France.

Police arrested 341 people on Friday alone, as rioting – sparked by the fatal police shooting of a 17-year-old driver – continued for the third day yesterday (Friday, June 30). Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said the average age of the more-than-900 people arrested on Thursday night was 17.

And, during an appearance on France’s TF1 channel, he said that Children as young as 13 have been arrested. It came after President Emmanuel Macron urged parents to keep teenagers at home – and proposed restrictions on social media.

Read more… Chaos erupts across France nation with police ‘at war with hordes of vermin’

President Macron said a third of the individuals arrested on Thursday were “young people, sometimes very young”, and that “it’s the parents’ responsibility” to keep their children at home.

Macron added: “We sometimes have the feeling that some of them are living in the streets the video games that have intoxicated them.”

After a second crisis meeting with senior ministers, Mr Macron said social media platforms such as Snapchat and TikTok played a “considerable role” in fuelling copycat acts of violence during this week’s unrest. He said his government would work with technology companies to establish procedures for “the removal of the most sensitive content”.

He did not specify the content he had in mind but said “I expect a spirit of responsibility from these platforms”. French authorities also plan to request, when “useful,” the identities “of those who use these social networks to call for disorder or exacerbate the violence”, the president said.

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Meanwhile, French police have said they are “at war” with “savage hordes of vermin”. And two of the country’s top police unions threatened a revolt if Macron’s government doesn’t restore order.

While Mr Macron held off on the option of declaring a state of emergency, his interior minister ordered a complete shutdown of all public bus and tram services across the country to take effect before sunset on Friday.

At least 80 of Friday’s arrests were in Marseille – where Mayor Benoit Payan asked the central authorities for police reinforcements to deal with the unrest. His plea came after rioters reportedly looted a gun store in the port city in the south of the country.

The Reuters news agency quotes police as saying that looters made off with hunting rifles, but no ammunition. Marseille’s Pride event, scheduled for today (Saturday) is one of many major events nationwide to have been cancelled.

Interior Minsiter Darmanin said, late last night, that “significant reinforcements” would soon be arriving in Marseille – adding that the coming hours “will be decisive”.

“Entirely legitimate emotions can in no circumstances justify disorder and delinquency,” said Darmanin.

However, the Interior Minister said that France saw a “downturn” in violence during the rioting on Friday – despite 471 arrests being made. He said Friday night was calmer than Thursday, when more than 900 people were arrested.

Darmanin said that Friday’s violence was of “much less intensity”. Speaking during a night visit to Yvelines west of Paris, Darmanin said it was “extremely calm” in some departments.

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