The home of a mayor in a Paris suburb was rammed by a car and set on fire by rioters while his wife and children were sleeping inside, in what he called an “assassination attempt” on his family.
Vincent Jeanbrun, the mayor of L’Hay-les-Roses, said he was at the town hall overseeing the situation when the attack occurred at around 1:30 a.m. on Sunday. He said the attackers used a car to break through the gates of his home and then set it ablaze so that the flames would spread to the house.
His wife, Melanie Nowak, and their two children, aged five and seven, tried to escape through the backyard but were targeted by fireworks rockets. Ms Nowak suffered a broken leg and one of the children was also injured.
Mr Jeanbrun, from the center-right Les Republicains party, said he was shocked and outraged by the “unspeakable cowardice” of the attackers. He said he had received support from across the political spectrum and vowed to continue to serve the Republic.
The public prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation for attempted murder. No suspects have been arrested so far.
The attack came amid the fifth night of violent protests across France over the death of Nahel M, a 17-year-old who was shot by police at point-blank range during a traffic stop in Nanterre on Tuesday. The incident sparked outrage and accusations of police brutality and racism.
Around 45,000 police officers were deployed on Saturday night to control the unrest, which has seen hundreds of cars torched, shops looted and public buildings attacked. The interior ministry said more than 700 people were arrested and more than 800 fires were lit by rioters.
President Emmanuel Macron has condemned the violence and called for calm and dialogue. He is expected to meet with top officials later on Sunday to discuss the crisis.