Arrest made in Montreal amid attempts to recreate France riots
Arrest made in Montreal amid attempts to recreate France riots

An arrest was made over the weekend in Montreal as youth held demonstrations in support of France’s riots. 

The destructive French riots were sparked by the police shooting of 17-year-old Nahel Merzouk. The teenager, who was driving without a license, was speeding and then ran a red light in an attempt to flee police. 

As reported by Le Journal De Montreal, a group of rowdy youth gathered in front of the Eaton Centre on Sainte-Catherine Street in downtown Montreal Sunday night – with the apparent goal of causing disorder. 

Instagram posts obtained by Le Journal show calls for violence at the protest.

“We do like the riots in France, (we) have to break everything,” reads one of the posts. “Bring your equipment and share (the protest) on your story.” 

“Today… It’s war, I’m telling you,” reads another instagram post. 

Protesters were met with a heavy police presence downtown. 

Police say one person was arrested for uttering threats at an officer, and two infractions were handed to those who participated in a public fight. There were no reports of vandalism.

Individuals were also planning to hold a destructive raid at the Galeries D’Anjou mall in suburban Montreal Monday evening. “It’s going to blow, be ready,” said a poster promoting the riot obtained by La Presse

The riot did not end up taking place amid police being prepared and present on site. A few people showed up to protest, but did not cause any damage.

La Presse noted that the mall closed early as an act of precaution.

In France, several buildings have been looted and destroyed in riots resembling those seen in the United States following the killing of George Floyd.

So far, 10 000 garbage cans, 5000 cars and 30 buses have been set on fire. 1000 buildings have been burned or looted. Businesses including grocery stores, convenience stores and banks have been vandalized.

700 members of France’s security forces have been injured. The country deployed 45,000 officers to deal with the riots.

The damage to businesses alone is estimated to be over 1 billion euros. Far more than the three weeks long 2005 France riots, which raked up 204 million euros (294 CAD) in damage. 

France’s Ministry of Justice says almost 4000 arrests have been made. 

The grandmother of the victim has called for the riots to end, accusing rioters of taking advantage of her grandson’s death.

“Stop rioting, stop destroying,” she told BFM TV. “I say this to those who are rioting: do not smash windows, attack schools and buses. Stop. It’s mothers who take those buses.” 

She also said that the teenage rioters are “using Nahel as an excuse.” “We want things to calm down.”

French President Emmanuel Macron believes the peak of the riots has passed, amid calmer nights and the number of arrests declining. “Is it a permanent return to calm? I will be cautious, but the peak that we’ve seen in previous days has passed,” said Macron.

In addition to riot attempts in Montreal, there have been riots related to Nahel’s death in Belgium and Switzerland. 

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