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Violence erupts in French city after police killing of youth

Violence erupted in the western French city of Nantes as police confronted groups of young people protesting the death of a youth, who was shot by an officer during a police check.

Protesters first took to the streets in Nantes’s Breil neighborhood on Tuesday night after the young man — who was driving a vehicle and whose identity is not yet determined — was initially wounded when he “refused to comply” with police requests.

Several cars were burned and a shopping center was partly set alight in Breil.

“I saw everything burning,” AFP quoted a witness as saying. “There were fires in the bins, the cars. They were breaking everything. It lasted ages.”

The witness explained that things later calmed down, but police sources said reinforcements were expected to be sent to the area.

Clashes were also reported in the two other neighborhoods of Dervallieres and Malakoff as well.

The identity of the deceased was “not clear and officers received orders to bring the driver to the police station,” said local police chief Jean-Christophe Bertrand. “The driver then hit and slightly injured a police officer.”

“One of his colleagues then fired, hitting the young man, who unfortunately died,” he added.

The victim was hit in the carotid artery and was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital.

Pierre Sennes, the public prosecutor for Nantes, said national police was investigating to clarify “the facts and determine in what circumstances the policeman used his weapon.”

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