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France bans fireworks in attempt to crack down on unrest ahead of Bastille Day celebrations after riots

France has banned the sale, possession and transport of fireworks to quell unrest ahead of Bastille Day celebrations.

The government implemented a decree targeting “pyrotechnic articles” on Sunday 14 July – France’s national day signifying the start of the French Revolution.

It comes after a fresh row about alleged French police brutality emerged on Sunday after a video surfaced showing officers from the contentious rapid reaction unit called BRAV-M arresting the brother of a 24-year-old black man who died in police custody back in 2016.

The arrest took place during an annual march held in central Paris on Saturday, despite an official ban. Approximately 2,000 protesters gathered to pay homage to Adama Traoré, whose family claims he was forcefully restrained by the police, resulting in his death due to asphyxiation.

Bastille Day is usually marked by fireworks but unofficial displays will be banned this year after a week of unrest triggered by the police killing of 17-year-old Nahel Merzouk in Nanterre last month.

The teenager, who was of North African origin, died from bullet wounds to the chest after he was fatally shot at a traffic stop.

The fireworks ban does not apply to official fireworks displays organised by local authorities.

In a decree published on Sunday, the government stated: “In order to prevent the risk of serious disturbances to public order during the 14 July festivities, the sale, carrying, transport and use of pyrotechnic articles and fireworks will be prohibited on national territory until 15 July inclusively.”

Firework rockets, as well as stones and bottles, were used against police during the six days of violence following the shooting on 27 June in the Paris suburb of Nanterre.

The week of unrest saw some of the worst urban violence in France in nearly two decades, with more than 3,700 people taken into police custody, including at least 1,160 minors, according to official statistics.

Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne told Le Parisien newspaper there will be a “massive” security presence during the national celebrations to “protect the French during these two sensitive days”.

The government aims to address concerns and prevent further incidents of violence during this national holiday.

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