40 years of injustice, anger


The anger over the fatal police shooting of a 17-year-old Algerian boy in the Paris suburb of Nanterre on June 27 can be explained, although the violence which ensued cannot be justified.

Nanterre residents spoke to Anadolu about their stance on the protests that have swept the country since last week.

June 27

Youths took to the streets after police killed Nahel M. in the Paris suburb.

At around 7.30 p.m. local time (1730GMT), an Anadolu correspondent reached Nanterre to observe the situation.

A youth riding a scooter asked him if he was a journalist, and offered to take him to the troubled neighborhood.

“Here, see the things for yourself,” the young man said.

“Draw your own conclusions of what is happening here,” he added, criticizing the local media outlets for doing propaganda.

As soon as the Anadolu correspondent started filming the scene, a police officer targeted his face with a ball blaster – which is illegal – and yelled at him to move back.

In this chaotic scene, Anadolu tried to interview protesters, who mostly did not consent to being filmed.

Criticizing racist speech, biased media

Protesters who were interviewed criticized police brutality and the mainstream media outlets, as well as the political and judiciary systems in France for xenophobic speech toward “middle-class” youngsters, which is another way of saying “of North African or Sub-Saharan African descent.”

M., a man in his 60s who chose not to give his full name, regretted the killing of the 17-year-old boy “like an animal.”

“In the past, we were told stories, we always had doubts about arrests. This time, we clearly saw that the police officer’s statement was false,” M. said. “Without footage, we were told that the police did their job.”

He criticized the police for using violence.

“This caused a tragedy although police officers were not in danger,” M. continued, adding that people from his generation were well aware of these situations.

“Forty years ago, people started marching from Lyon across France, to denounce all of this,” he recalled. “They launched a hunger strike against police violence. Now, 40 years later, it seems that things have not changed.”

M. also deplored the ways of handling infractions in wealthy neighborhoods compared to middle-class areas.

“There are social problems too,” he added. “People are impoverished, there is misery, people living in worse conditions. The cost of living has increased and the government thinks that this does not reflect on the neighborhoods.”

M. in this context blamed the increase of unemployment and single-parent families.

“People struggle to find accommodation and jobs,” he said.

The Nanterre-resident however did not approve of the acts of violence, including setting fire to schools, bank branches and shops.

* Writing by Nur Asena Erturk in Ankara

Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.

Source link