A crowdfunding campaign to raise money for the family of the police officer who shot teenager Nahel M. in France at point-blank range surpassed 1.4 million euros (R$ 7.37 million) this Tuesday (04/ 07), surpassing a similar initiative for the victim’s family and attracting the anger of a swath of French society.
The fundraising effort was launched on the US platform GoFundMe by French far-right media personality Jean Messiha, who backed extremist Éric Zemmour’s 2022 presidential bid and received more than 72,000 private donations.
Politicians from the left and center called the fundraising shameful while the far right defended the police force, which it says is a daily target of violence in low-income suburbs of French cities.
Deputy Éric Bothorel, affiliated with President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist party, described the campaign as “indecent and scandalous”. Olivier Faure, head of the Socialist Party, called on the GoFundMe platform to end the fundraising.
This is a debate that reflects the deep fractures that run through French society. “This police officer is the victim of a national witch hunt, what a disgrace,” Messiha tweeted shortly after launching the campaign. “The fundraising effort is the symbol of a France that says no to this betrayal.”
The officer has been charged with murder and is in custody.
Socialist Party leader Olivier Faure urged GoFundMe to end the campaign. “You are perpetuating a gaping rift by supporting a police officer under investigation for murder. End this,” he wrote on social media.
Campaign for Nahel’s family raises 352 thousand euros
Meanwhile, fundraising pledges for Nahel’s family reached 352,000 euros (R$ 1.8 million).
Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti told France Inter radio that everyone should be able to donate to a crowdfunder, but added: “I don’t think (Messiha) is going in the direction of appeasement.”
The murder that took place two weeks ago of Nahel, a 17-year-old young man of Algerian and Moroccan descent, triggered a violent wave of protests across the country and shocked France.
The last two nights, however, had passed in relative tranquility. Police made 72 arrests last night, according to the French Interior Ministry.
Law to repair damage from protests
French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday announced an urgent law to repair the damage caused by the riots.
The latest Interior Ministry report details that nearly 3,500 people have been arrested since then, around 12,200 cars have been set on fire and around 1,100 buildings have been damaged, including police stations and schools.
In the Paris region, the epicenter of the riots, the regional government has counted a hundred public buildings damaged and is expected to approve a relief fund of 20 million euros on Wednesday.
According to regional transport authority IDFM, the financial impact of the disturbances on public transport in Paris and its suburbs amounts to at least 20 million euros.