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France riots: Shot teenager's grandmother urges calm

The grandmother of the teenager shot dead by police during a traffic stop in a Paris suburb said on Sunday she wanted the nationwide rioting triggered by his killing to end, after a fifth night of unrest.

She said the rioters were using 17-year-old Nahel's death last Tuesday as an excuse to cause havoc and that the family wanted calm.

"I'm telling them [the rioters] to stop," the grandmother, identified as Nadia by French media, told BFM TV.

"Nahel is dead. My daughter is lost ... she doesn't have a life anymore."

Asked about a crowdfunding campaign that had received pledges of more than 670,000 euros for the police officer charged with voluntary homicide over the shooting, Nadia said: "My heart aches."

The latest riots, following Saturday's funeral for Nahel, in the Paris suburb of Nanterre, were less intense than the previous night, the government said. Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said 45,000 police would again be deployed on Sunday night.

Since Nahel was shot, rioters have torched cars and looted stores, but also targeted state institutions - town halls and police stations. The home of the mayor of L'Hay-les-Roses near Paris was attacked while his wife and children were asleep inside. President Emmanuel Macron postponed a state visit to Germany that was due to begin on Sunday to handle the worst crisis for his leadership since the "Yellow Vest" protests gripped much of France in late 2018.

In mid-April, Macron gave himself 100 days to bring reconciliation and unity to a divided country after rolling strikes and sometimes-violent protests over his raising of the retirement age, which he had promised in his election campaign. Instead, Nahel's death has fed longstanding complaints of discrimination, police violence and systemic racism inside law enforcement agencies - denied by authorities - from rights groups and within the low-income, racially mixed suburbs that ring major French cities. The officer involved has acknowledged firing a lethal shot, the state prosecutor says, telling investigators he wanted to prevent a dangerous police chase. His lawyer Laurent-Franck Lienard has said he did not intend to kill the teenager.