French Police Detain Children as Young as 12 for Protesting Racism and Police Brutality

French Police Detain Children for Protesting Racism and Police Brutality

French police have detained children as young as 12 for protesting against racism and police brutality. Approximately 50,000 heavily armed riot police have been deployed to curtail the protests, which have left France with a war-zone-like appearance.

The response to the protests is reminiscent of authoritarian regimes. According to international media reports, over 3,400 people, many of them children, have been arrested.

Rioting and protests erupted in response to the police killing of Nahel Merzouk, a 17-year-old of Algerian descent, in the Paris suburb of Nanterre. Since the fatal shooting, the French riots and protests have taken place in various cities, including Paris.

President Emmanuel Macron has convened an emergency security meeting to restore peace. He has deployed thousands of heavily armed riot officers to major cities.

Meanwhile, a GoFundMe page has raised over US$1.4 million (equivalent to over 2 billion Malawi Kwacha) for the family of the police officer who killed the young child, instead of supporting the family of the deceased.

Racial and xenophobic attacks against immigrants and black people have been increasing in France. French figures such as footballer Kylian Mbappé and actor Omar Sy continue to condemn police brutality and racism.