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French PM calls for tough punishment for perpetrators of attack on mayor's home

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A municipal police officer stands in front of the damaged home of the Mayor of l'Hay-les-Roses Vincent Jeanbrun, in l'Hay-les-Roses, a suburb of Paris on July 2, 2023, after rioters rammed a vehicle into the building injuring the Mayor's wife and one of his children overnight. (Photo by AFP)

France's Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne has denounced the attack on the house of a mayor of a town south of Paris, calling for the perpetrators to be punished with “the utmost severity.”

Borne made the remarks on Sunday after protestersrammed a car” into the home of Mayor Vincent Jeanbrun of the town of L'Hay-les-Roses earlier in the day. The protesters then set it ablaze while his family was asleep inside the house.

In a post on his Twitter account, Jeanbrun wrote his wife and one of their two children, aged five and seven, were injured as they attempted to flee the attackers.

The French prime minister further condemned the assault as "particularly shocking," saying, "We will let no violence get by" unpunished.

Créteil public prosecutor Stéphane Hardouin said an investigation has been opened into the attempted murder of the mayor.

According to the public prosecutor, initial findings suggest that the attackers probably intended "to burn down the house," noting that an accelerant was discovered in a bottle in the car.

The judicial police are handling the investigation, Hardouin said, adding that no suspects have been arrested.

A number of French politicians have also condemned the attack. 

"To attack the life of an elected representative and that of his family is to attack the nation," President of the Senate Gérard Larcher wrote on Twitter. 

French government spokesman Olivier Véran also spoke of his "anger" and his "deep emotion" at the attack. 

The latest attack took place as a wave of protests continue to rock the European nation for the fifth consecutive night over the police shooting death of a teenager of African descent. 

Last week’s death of Nahel M, an Arab boy of Algerian heritage killed by French police during a traffic check, sparked violent protests and nighttime clashes in Paris and other cities against systemic racism and police brutality.

Footage of the incident shows that one of the two police officers who had stopped Nahel’s car discharged his gun at the driver while he did not seem to face any immediate threat.

The officer is said to be facing investigations and placed in preliminary detention.

The successive nights of violence across France have prompted the officials to launch a crackdown, mobilizing some 40,000 police officers to patrol cities, and arresting thousands of protesters, according to the figures announced by the French interior ministry.

France’s President Emanuel Macron was forced to rush back to Paris from an EU summit to take part in a crisis meeting.

The latest unrest has revived memories of riots in 2005 which convulsed France for three weeks and forced then-president Jacques Chirac to declare a state of emergency.

Nahel’s killing was the third fatal shooting by police during traffic stops in France in 2023. Last year 13 such shootings were recorded, three in 2021 and two in 2020.

Since 2017, most of the victims of such killings have been of black or Arab origin, backing up claims by rights groups of systemic racism within French law enforcement agencies.

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