France is deploying elite special forces commandos, specifically GIGN units, to deal with widespread violence, riots, and looting that have escalated for five consecutive nights. The unrest was triggered by the police shooting of 17-year-old Nahel Merzouk, leading to extensive protests and a cancellation of President Macron’s trip to Germany.
- The violent outbursts, riots, and looting across France are a response to the police-involved shooting of teenager Nahel Merzouk. Since the violence erupted, at least 2,400 people have been arrested, with 30% of detainees being minors, some as young as 13.
- To handle the escalating unrest, the French government has reportedly deployed elite GIGN commandos, comparable to the UK’s SAS. The GIGN’s duties include hostage rescue, counterterrorism, surveillance of national threats, government official protection, critical site safeguarding, and organized crime targeting.
- Marseille, particularly affected by the violence, received GIGN units on Saturday evening. The city had experienced an explosion in its old port area and had a gun store looted by rioters.
- Because of the violence, over 200 policemen have been injured, over 700 businesses have been ransacked or burnt down, and around 2,500 fires have been started, according to authorities.
- The widespread unrest has impacted the international diplomatic relations of France, causing President Macron to cancel an official trip to Germany, the first of its kind in 23 years.