The number of mourners was so great, people poured out of Paris mosques and stopped traffic as they prayed in the middle of the street.
The police killing of 17-year-old Nahel Marzouk sparked national outrage and sparked the worst violence in France in more than a decade.
Across the country, at least 2,400 people have been arrested, curfews have been imposed and public transport has been suspended, as open street fighting has broken out between protesters and police, and looting has become widespread.
In response, President Emmanuel Macron deployed 45,000 officers, along with popular anti-terror units and armored vehicles to patrol the streets.
But the most striking aspect of Nahel’s funeral at a mosque in the western Paris district of Nanterre on Saturday and his death was the absence of security forces.
Volunteers from the local community carefully patrolled the streets, which were emblazoned with the slogan “No Police Impunity”.
Hundreds of people on foot and scooters expressed their emotions as the body was brought out.
“It’s over,” Nahel D’s mother Munia said after the casket descended to earth in the clouds.
“He had gone to heaven.”
Nahel — a teenager of Moroccan and Algerian descent — was shot by a police officer during a traffic stop on Tuesday, an incident captured on cell phone footage that showed Nahel screaming before one of the officers opened fire.
Thousands protested across the country, outraged by the killing and police efforts to paint Naheel as a juvenile in need.
Nahel’s death was “the final straw,” family friends have repeatedly said. The independent. France exploded.
For four nights, the streets of Paris, Marseille, Lyon, Toulouse, Strasbourg and Lille burned, as looters looted dozens of shops and torched 2,000 vehicles, the interior ministry said.
There have been calls for calm and for President Macron to declare a state of emergency, with more chaos on the horizon.
The United Nations weighed in on urging the country to “seriously address issues of racism and discrimination in law enforcement.”
It has done serious damage to Mr Macron’s diplomatic profile. On Saturday, Mr Macron was forced to postpone his first visit to Germany in 23 years by a French president, citing internal security concerns.
At the funeral, which took place at the hilltop cemetery, friends of the family spoke of being “in shock” and of struggling with the prevalence of racism in France’s police force.
Theresa, 60, who lives next door to Nahel’s grandmother and knows the teenager personally, said: “I am very angry. She said that we are all mothers, especially in this neighborhood, who are hardworking and kind.” .
“Thank God there is video, the police lie all the time. This could change things,” she added.
Mohamed, 60, part of the Algerian community in Nanterre and a friend of Nahel’s mother, Monia, said they were all treated as “second-class citizens”.
“Nahel was his mother’s world, and now he is gone. She lost everything. We simply don’t get the same rights.
Nahel was his mother’s world, and now he is gone. We don’t get the same rights.
Muhammad, a friend of the family
His comments were echoed by half a dozen other mourners. The independent He spoke all day.
“If you’re not white, you’re not equal. There is a two-tier ethnic system,” said 62-year-old Abdelmalek Hamchui, a local community leader.
“I was made to feel like I was French on paper,” said 35-year-old Hadrami Belhakemi.
And the incident has put a lot of emphasis on the French justice and legal system.
One of the family’s lawyers, Abdelmajid Benamara, from Nanterre, described Nahel’s killing as “compelling”. The independent It was the latest in a series of horrific incidents by the French police.
They called for a thorough investigation of the police and a major reform of the legal system.
You must call a spade a spade: this is enforcement.
Abdelmadjid Benamara, Nahel family lawyer
“You can’t be a hypocrite about this. When a police officer kills a young teenager, you should call 911: it’s a murder. You have to open a proper investigation, he added.
While the police officer who fired the shots was charged with voluntary manslaughter when the video was released, the second police officer at the scene has not been charged and is still on the job, Mr. Benamara continued.
The problem lies with the legal system as a whole, after a 2017 law loosened rules regarding police officers’ right to use their weapons.
“In 2022, there were 13 incidents of French police shooting at civilians in similar circumstances to Nahel M’s murder. “Only five of them are being investigated,” he added.
The only difference this time is that there is a video of the event.
“There is a broken social contract between the people and the government. There is no more trust,” he added.
The violence also recalled the riots that rocked France for three weeks in 2005 and forced then-President Jacques Chirac to declare a state of emergency.
That wave of violence erupted in the Clichy-sous-Bois area of Paris and spread across the country following the death of two young men who were electrocuted in a power substation while hiding from the police.
Many people The independent Those we spoke to said nothing had changed since then.
Lalah Baghdad, 58, said: “I have lived in this neighborhood for 27 years, and every year the racism has gotten worse,” said another mourner from Nanterre at Nahel’s funeral.
“How do you fight what I don’t know.”
The outburst of anger in the country triggered by the video of Naheel’s killing could be a different reason for the future, says Teresa.
“We have an expression: 100 years for a thief, one year for a teacher. That really sums up the situation here,” she said.
But now we feel that a change is coming.