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WORLD NEWS | Hundreds of young people bid farewell to French teen killed by police


Streaks of light seen in California. (Photo credit: Video Grab)

NANTERY, July 1 (AP) A group of young people walked up the hill from the mosque and into the silent cemetery. Hundreds of people have come to say goodbye to the teenager, who was killed by police, leaving much of France on edge.

It was a warm Saturday afternoon, away from a night of street violence, with windows smashed and vehicles charred. Many of the men were Arab or black, and they had come to mourn a boy who might become them.

Read also | Riots in France: More than 1,300 people detained in violent protests as French teenager Nahel Merzouk’s funeral takes place in Paris-Nantere.

France and the rest of the world know Nahel, 17, only by his first name and the most basic details of his life, including that his family is from Algeria. But on Saturday, many in the crowd either knew him or identified with him.

After four days of chaos, there was almost silence all around. Everywhere there were people wearing “Justice for Naher” shirts.

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When the crowd squeezed through the gate of the cemetery, there was no sign of the police. Despite the significance of the day, only a handful of people filmed it with their phones.

The teen’s killing was captured on video, which was crucial to police’s swift detainment. But at his funeral, such witnesses were not welcome, and some journalists were driven away.

“Men first,” an official in a suit and tie announced to the dozens of women waiting to enter the cemetery. But Nahel’s mother, dressed in white, walked right in amid the applause, toward the grave.

For several hours the crowd had grown, first at the mosque where prayers were held, then at the cemetery. The word “martyr” is heard every now and then. The usual greeting of the French is sombre. “Can ne va pas, franchisement,” one man tells another. (“It’s not going well, frankly.”)

This is not the first time young people, whether Arab or black, have been killed by police.

Inside the cemetery gate, the white coffin was lifted above the crowd, towards the grave. The men followed, some holding the little boy’s hand.

Some wiped their eyes as they left. Others looked dazed and heartbroken. Some extend warm greetings to acquaintances. Some held folded prayer rugs. Some looked dejected, striding back down the street alone.

After days of anger and allegations of long-standing marginalization in France, they sought peace to mourn.

While funeral-goers began to leave, the rest of Paris was enjoying the summer weekend, with tour groups and café-goers miles away. But many residents in the capital and beyond still feel pain.

Near the cemetery, Sid Ali, a Parisian driver who identified himself as Arab and spoke only partially for fear of reprisals from police or authorities, said he was not sure Nahr was killed And whether the violent riots will change anything.

“Paris is kinda on fire, isn’t it?” he asked. Let’s see “whether police change their practices over time.”

There are still a few hours until nightfall. (Associated Press)

(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a syndicated news feed, the latest staff may not have modified or edited the body of content)


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