Canada is urging travellers to exercise a “high degree of caution” when travelling to France as protests have broken out across French cities in response to the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old by police.
“Since June 27, 2023, demonstrations in opposition to police violence have been taking place. Further demonstrations are planned in the commune of Nanterre, in Paris and in several other cities across the country, including Lyon and Toulouse,” the advisory issued on Thursday read.
“They have caused disruptions to services and transportation and have led to acts of vandalism, arson, and violent clashes between demonstrators and police. In certain cases, security forces have used tear gas and to disperse crowds.”
The Canadian government has urged those already in France to monitor local media for the most recent information, follow the instructions of local authorities and be prepared to modify their plans in case of disturbances.
They have also been asked to expect enhanced security measures and an increased police presence. These measures are likely to be in place at strategic locations such as transport hubs, public places and tourist locations, especially in Paris.
France mobilized tens of thousands of police officers Thursday in an effort to head off widespread urban rioting following the deadly police shooting of a 17-year-old that shocked the nation, with commuters rushing home before transport services closed early to avoid being targeted by rioters.
Protesters in some cities set fires in the streets as the night progressed.
A police officer allegedly shot and killed the teenager during a traffic stop on Tuesday in Nanterre, a western suburb of Paris. The encounter was caught on camera and sparked outrage across the country.
The police officer accused of pulling the trigger was handed a preliminary charge of voluntary homicide after prosecutor Pascal Prache said his initial investigation led him to conclude “the conditions for the legal use of the weapon were not met.”
Protesters erected barricades, lit fires and shot fireworks at police, who responded with tear gas and water cannons in French streets overnight as tensions grew over the shooting that has shocked the nation. More than 600 people were arrested and at least 200 police officers injured as the government struggled to restore order on a third night of unrest.
President Emmanuel Macron left early from an EU summit in Brussels, where France plays a major role in European policymaking, to return to Paris and hold an emergency security meeting Friday.
— with files from The Associated Press.
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