Pain and anger in Nanterre. Thousands of people accompany the family of Nahel this summer Saturday, the young man murdered by Florian, a motorized police officer last Tuesday, at his funeral. They have asked that neither journalists nor cameras be present “to avoid any media interference,” according to their lawyers.
The funeral of Nahel, whose death in a police shooting on Tuesday sparked three nights of riots and fury in many French cities and more than 1,300 arrests, began at 11 a.m. and will end with a ceremony at 2:00 p.m. mid-afternoon, French time, at the Mont Valerin cemetery.
Friends from school, from the Cite Pablo Picasso where he lived, Muslims and residents of the neighborhood and others who did not know them but came to show solidarity, are there.
On a pink wall, a single sentence was written in colored letters: “Nahel, the little brother of all Nanterre”.
The drama occurred near the Nanterre-Prefecture RER station, during a police control of the yellow Mercedes driven by Nahel, who was driving without a driver’s license and was being followed by two motorized policemen. They stopped in a traffic jam and the policemen proached. Ctured on amateur video, the point-blank shooting of a police motorcyclist contradicted the official police story. Florian, the police officer who shot Nahel in the heart, is under arrest for intentional homicide.
Fury broke out in the Parisian suburbs and in the big cities of France, like the long civil disobedience of 2005, but coordinated by social networks. With public buildings destroyed, buses burned, the majority of the population demanded the state of urgency.
“We must continue to surround this family, this mother who will bury her son tomorrow,” said the mayor of Nanterre Patrick Harry, after a meeting at the Matignon palace yesterday, without giving further details.
Without journalists or cameras, at a funeral full of friends and neighbors
“Saturday, July 1, will be a day of meditation for Nahel’s family,” wrote doctors Abdelmadjid Benamara, Jennifer Cambla and Yassine Bouzrou, his lawyers.
They stressed “the importance of giving bereaved families the privacy and respect they need during this difficult time.”
“That is why the Nahel family asks all journalists not to go to the places of the different stages of this day and to respect their choice of discretion,” they continued.
Despite a violence that plundered Marseille, Lyon and Grenoble this morning, “it is time for meditation” this Saturday in Nanterre (Hauts-de-Seine), west of Paris and not far from the modern neighborhood of La Defense.
Numerous young people, dressed in djellabas, filtered the entrance of the funeral in Nanterre. Inside the funeral home were Nahel’s mother, her grandmother, neighbors and many teenagers, inhabitants of the Cite Pablo-Picasso, where they lived. But also Muslims from other neighborhoods.
Access to the press is strictly prohibited, as the family’s lawyers requested this Friday.
Nahel is a 17-year-old “martyr” for suburban Muslims. They organized funeral prayers at the Ibn Badis mosque, on avenue Georges Clemenceau, in Nanterre, west of Paris. No uniformed police officers showed up near the funeral home this Saturday morning.
A woman in her sixties, a resident of Nanterre, confided as she left the place of homage: “I came to support the mother. She sacrificed herself for her son. It was her baby. She is surrounded today. But tomorrow? “she says on the way out, dressed in a black abaya.
“When I passed in front of Nahel’s coffin, I said ‘Peace to his soul and let justice be done.'” For this grandmother, the teenager is “a martyr.”
Foued, 44, management controller of Trpes, in Yvelines, and father of two children aged 19 and 17, also wanted to pay tribute to Nahel.
“As soon as I saw the video, I grabbed my stomach,” he says. “We say: ‘But why and we don’t have an answer?'” Foued points out, about the death of the teenager, whom he found “at peace.” The 40-year-old man describes an environment in the funeral home “very dignified, with a lot of silence, respect, looks.”
To the mosque
A little before 1:00 p.m., Nahel’s white coffin arrived at the Nanterre mosque, carried by eight people. A security perimeter was set up around the building, with around thirty people in fluorescent vests, who ensure the security of the place, with no police presence. Mediators from the city of Nanterre, recognizable by their red T-shirts, were also present in front of the building. There were no police officers in the vicinity.
From the mosque they will go to the Mont Valerien cemetery, where he will be buried.
Dalhaimi, 53 years old, unemployed and looking for work, came to the mosque to meditate in memory of Nahel, a friend of his cousins. “I hope he enters paradise. God will accept it. Inch’Allah, he is the one who knows,” he said.
In the place, the funeral prayer is performed standing, without prostration, while dozens of faithful were still waiting on the sidewalk to enter the place of worship.
On the sidewalk in front of the mosque, Nicolas, a neighbor of Nahel’s grandmother, waited for the faithful to leave to go to the cemetery. He is dressed all in white because he “he was a child, he was an angel.” “If I had been an adult, I would have dressed in black”he explained. “Today I am sad and angry. Nahel was like all the children his age, helpful. He spent a lot of time with his grandmother, ”he recalls.
Nahel’s short life
A fan of r and motorcycles, Nahel was raised alone by his mother in Nanterre. His father abandoned him at birth and died at the age of 17. He lived in the block of buildings in the Pablo-Picasso urbanization, at the foot of La Defense, very close to Paris.
Outside of school, where he studied electricity and dreamed of being a mechanic despite repeated absenteeism, he worked as a delivery boy.
He had started an “integration journey” in the Ovale Citoyen association, which accompanied young people through sport and played rugby.