The mayor of a Paris suburb says his home was rammed by a vehicle and set alight while his wife and children were asleep inside during the unrest that has gripped the country since a police officer fatally shot a teenager on Tuesday.
Vincent Jeanbrun, mayor of the southern suburb of L’Hay-les-Roses, said his wife and one of their two young children were injured as they fled the building in the early hours Sunday.
Jeanbrun, from the conservative Les Republicains party, was not home at the time but at the town hall monitoring the violence. The town hall has been the target of attack for several nights since the shooting and has been protected with barbed wire and barricades.
“At 1:30 a.m., as I was in the town hall just like the two previous nights, people ram-raided my home before starting a fire to torch my house, where my wife and my two young children were sleeping,” Jeanbrun said on his Twitter account.
“While attempting to shield them and fleeing the attackers, my wife and one of my children got hurt.”
Jeanbrun said the attack represented a new stage of “horror and ignominy” in the unrest and urged the government to impose a state of emergency.
The local prosecutor told reporters that an investigation into attempted murder had been opened. No suspects have been arrested.
The prosecutor said the woman was injured as she fled through the backyard of the house.
As night fell Saturday over the French capital, a small crowd gathered on the Champs-Élysées to protest police violence and the shooting death of the teen known publicly by his first name, Nahel, but they were met by hundreds of officers with batons and shields guarding the avenue and its boutiques.
In a less chic neighbourhood of northern Paris, protesters set off firecrackers and lit barricades on fire as police shot back with tear gas and stun grenades.
Skirmishes erupted in the Mediterranean city of Marseille but appeared less intense than the night before, according to the Interior Ministry. A bolstered police contingent arrested 55 people there.
Nationwide arrests were lower than the night before. Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin attributed that to “the resolute action of security forces.” Police made 719 arrests nationwide by early Sunday.
More than 3,000 people have been detained overall since Nahel’s death. The mass police deployment has been welcomed by some frightened residents of targeted neighbourhoods and shop owners whose stores have been ransacked — but it has further frustrated those who see police behaviour as the core of France’s current crisis.