Police stations, town halls and schools were set alight across France on Wednesday, the second night of protests following the fatal police shooting of a teenage boy that was captured on video.

Wednesday’s unrest saw 150 people arrested. It followed a chaotic night Tuesday during which 24 police officers were injured and 40 cars burned in several Paris suburbs, French authorities claimed, prompting them to deploy 2,000 extra police officers in anticipation of a second night of demonstrations.

Government officials were quick to condemn Wednesday’s destructive unrest. President Emmanuel Macron said the violence was “unjustifiable” – the same word he used to describe the killing of the young boy named Naël – while Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin called it “intolerable.”

The violent scenes that played out two nights in a row have raised concerns that Naël’s death could lead to a level of unrest and rioting not seen since 2005, when the deaths of two teenage boys hiding from police sparked three weeks of rioting and prompted the government to call a state of emergency.

The video has sparked a similar level of shock and anger across France, touching a particular nerve among young men and women of color who feel that they have been discriminated against by police.

A 2017 study by the Rights Defenders, an independent human rights watchdog in France, found that young men perceived to be Black or Arab were 20 times more likely to be stopped by police than their peers.

Many of these individuals are simply “tired,” journalist and racial equality activist Rokhaya Diallo told CNN.


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