Riots are sweeping the streets of Paris tonight after a gunman killed three people in attack on a Kurdish cultural centre.
French police have confirmed that a 69-year-old man has been arrested following the incident where at least four people were also injured. Prosecutors said the suspect had recently been released from prison after attacking migrants living in tents, and that investigators are considering a possible racist motive for the shooting.
Shocked members of the Kurdish community in Paris were said to be ‘livid’. They had recently been warned by police of threats to Kurdish targets and immediately called for justice.
Within hours, hundreds gathered near the scene of the attack as objects including rocks and bottles were thrown at police. A fire also broke out as protesters battled with officers who were not equipped with riot gear.
Riot police fired teargas to push back angry protesters just a short distance from the scene of the shooting. Rubbish bins and restaurant tables were also overturned and at least one car has been damaged.
A lawyer for the Kurdish cultural centre told Reuters that all three of the deceased were Kurdish.
The French Minister Gerald Darmanin said the suspected gunman “clearly wanted to target foreigners” but there was not yet any evidence that he had picked out Kurds specifically.
In the attack, just hours earlier, multiple gunshots were fired on Rue d’Enghien, which caused panic on a street lined with small shops and cafes in the capital’s busy 10th arrondissement.
The shooting occurred at midday at a Kurdish cultural centre and a restaurant and hairdresser nearby, according to the mayor for the 10th arrondissement, Alexandra Cordebard.
As she spoke, a crowd nearby chanted, “Erdogan, terrorist” — referring to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan — and “Turkish state, assassin.”
A construction worker who was on a job nearby described seeing the assailant go first to the cultural centre, then to the restaurant and then the hairdresser. He saw the assailant injure three people, then two passersby intervened and stopped the attacker. The worker described the attacker as silent and calm as he wielded a small-calibre pistol.