Britons have been warned against traveling to violent hotspots in France as riots risk escalating out of control.
The State Department’s newly updated advice warns travelers to “avoid areas where riots are taking place” as the situation becomes “unpredictable”.
A complete shutdown of public bus and tram services was ordered nationwide on Friday night after shops were looted and several city centers caught fire as protesters set cars on fire. steam and buildings.
President Emmanuel Macron urged parents to keep teenagers at home, saying his government was considering “all options” to restore order.
More than 200 police officers have been injured in the unrest, which erupted after a police officer shot dead a teenager.
Some areas have faced curfews. By Friday, 875 suspects had been arrested as authorities attempted to quell the clashes.
Violence broke out in Marseille, Lyon, Pau, Toulouse, Strasbourg and Lille, as well as in Paris, where a 17-year-old driver of Algerian and Moroccan descent, identified only as Nahel M, was fatally shot on the outskirts of Nanterre. .
Dozens of buses were destroyed by flames at a warehouse in Aubervilliers, north of Paris, and a tram was set on fire in Lyon.
In Nanterre, protesters burned cars, barricaded streets and threw bullets at police. Stores, including an Apple store, were ransacked in Strasbourg, while several Casino supermarkets were looted.
The Interior Ministry said 79 police stations were attacked on Friday night, as well as 119 public buildings, including 34 town halls and 28 schools.
Concerts by French singer Mylene Farmer have been canceled at the Stade de France.
At the Chatelet Les Halles shopping center in central Paris, a Nike store was broken into and several people were arrested after a store window in the adjacent Rue de Rivoli was smashed, police said.
The energy minister said several employees of an electricity distribution company were injured by throwing stones during the clashes.
Shop owner Pascal Matieus in Nanterre said: ‘It was completely out of control. The police have lost control.”
British tourists already in France or planning to travel there for the weekend are becoming increasingly nervous. independence calculates that around 260,000 British tourists have booked flights, ferries and trains to France on Saturday and Sunday.
Newly updated official travel advice warns them of potential disruption. “Since June 27, riots have taken place all over France. Many have become violent. Shops, public buildings and parked cars have become targets,” the government advisory states.
“Road travel may be disrupted and local transport supply may be reduced. Some local governments may impose curfews. The place and time of the riots are unpredictable. You should monitor the media, avoid areas where riots are taking place, check the latest travel advice from operators and follow the advice of the authorities.”
While most of the unrest is taking place away from tourist areas, the closure of public transport in Paris and other major cities at night will cause significant problems for many visitors. tourism.
Britain’s biggest low-cost carrier, easyJet, says it will allow passengers booked for Saturday or Sunday to switch to another flight without paying the usual £49 fee.
A spokesperson said: “Any customer flying to France this weekend who wants to change their plans can contact our customer service team for assistance with their options. , including switching to an alternative flight, and we will waive the change.”
Almost all Eurostar trains from London to Paris on the weekend are full, or about 20,000 passengers. A Eurostar spokesman said: “Our services to France are currently operating as scheduled and the normal fare conditions apply.
“We will continue to monitor the situation and will provide updates on Eurostar.com and Twitter if this changes.”
Since the State Department does not warn about all travel, travelers will not be able to claim compensation if they decide not to continue their trip to France or return home early.
Prosecutors said Nahel M was driving in his car early Tuesday morning when he was stopped for a traffic violation. The teen is too young to have a full driver’s license.
His death, captured on video, has sparked longstanding outrage in poor, multiracial urban communities over police violence and racism.