Just weeks after hugely disruptive protests and strikes over pension reforms in France finally died down, businesses in the country are grappling with the fallout from a week of rioting.
The riots, which were sparked by the fatal shooting of a teenager by a police officer last Tuesday, have already caused more than €1 billion ($1.1 billion) worth of damage, according to a French business association, MEDEF.
Protesters have attacked nearly 400 bank branches and 500 corner shops, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told CNN affiliate BFMTV Wednesday. Speaking to CNN’s Isa Soares Tuesday, Le Maire put the total number of looted stores at 1,000, adding that the businesses were being supported by the government.
But he downplayed the likely impact on the wider French economy. The riots “will not have a deep impact on French growth,” Le Maire said.
The wave of unrest erupted after 17-year-old Nahel Merzouk was shot dead during a traffic stop in a Paris suburb. Protesters in cities across France took to the streets in the days that followed to express their fury over how the country’s marginalized communities are policed and raise questions over whether race was a factor in Merzouk’s death.