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In the heart of Paris, merchants are restless after a night of rioting

In the heart of Paris, merchants are restless after a night of rioting

“It’s the first time in 25 years that I’ve seen this.” Shopkeepers and residents of central Paris, often distraught, noted on Friday the damage caused by a night of looting and looting in the heart of the capital.

“Today is a wasted day of work,” says Yvan – his last name is not given – a maintenance worker in a shoe shop in Châtelet-les-Halles, sitting on the steps near the shop.

France Press agency

Broken windows, stolen shoes … A store and a store of a famous American sports brand a few meters away were both ransacked and looted in the middle of the night.

“It’s the first time I’ve seen this, I won’t be able to work today… I have a family to feed, it’s stupid for me to do that,” he said, waiting for the store manager to arrive.

In turn, Marilyn, who did not want to reveal her full identity, the co-manager of the “Au coeur Couronne” café, had to bring all the customers who were sitting on the terrace during the night inside the establishment.

France Press agency

“We were very worried and we are very worried,” she said. “When they attacked the shops. I called the police, and I even put out a garbage fire next to the restaurant.”

However, she has no intention of closing the pub for the next night. “I have reservations, I have to open it up, but if it persists, maybe I close it early,” she adds.

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After being “extremely afraid for the restaurant”, Noel, an employee of the Maison Pouquelin in Châtelet, admitted his anxiety at the thought of the riots continuing.

“We went through covid, everyone gave up, so if it’s like this now the dealers are dead,” she says, leaning against the restaurant table.

France Press agency

Rivoli Street, Luisa Vieira, 58, lives between a jeweler and the shop of a French clothing brand, which was ransacked and looted at night.

The caretaker of the building, she was awakened by a “huge noise” and around two o’clock in the morning, put a padlock on the door of the clothing store, to prevent “people from continuing to come and steal clothes”.

“Tonight, I’m afraid they’ll come back and do worse,” she admitted, leaning against the building’s front door.

Presented with the rioters during the night, Abraham (presumed first name), sitting in front of the American brand’s sporting goods store, confident he saw the “mortar firing” of fireworks. But he was “surprised” by the change of events as the hours passed.

France Press agency

They are neither right nor wrong, as theft and looting will not help the investigation. But showing our anger shows that we are tired of police blunders,” he argues, without knowing yet whether he will take part in the rallies planned for Friday night.

After the damage, the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, convened a crisis unit in the city in the morning.

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