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The violent riots that have rocked France over the last week have cost businesses in the European nation over $1 billion, according to a new report.
Medef, a French business association, came up with the estimate after the country faced widespread looting and arson following the police shooting of a 17-year-old boy during an attempted traffic stop. Police have arrested thousands in an attempt to quell the violence.
“The videos of the riots that circulated around the world hurt the image of France,” Medef President Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux told a French newspaper. “It’s always difficult to say if the impact will be long-lasting, but there will certainly be a drop in reservations this summer, although the season had seemed promising. Many have already been canceled.”
According to Medef, about 200 businesses have been looted alongside the destruction of 250 tobacco stores and 300 banks, Fortune reported. The total cost of the rioting is likely higher because the estimate didn’t take into account other buildings, like churches or homes, that were damaged.
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire indicated that the government would help those whose livelihoods had been destroyed.
“If your store has been burned to the ground and a life’s work has been reduced to ashes, the state must be by your side,” he said. “We’ll do everything necessary so that economic activity can calmly pick up again in our country as quickly as possible.”
About 3,500 people have been arrested after police shot teenager Nahel M. during a confrontation with police. According to Nanterre prosecutor Pascal Prache, French police were attempting to conduct a traffic stop on the vehicle Nahel M. was in, but he did not stop and drove through a red light. Police later caught up to the vehicle, then stuck in traffic, and told Nahel M. to get out. As the car attempted to drive away, an officer shot the teen, Prache said.
In the aftermath of the shooting, videos of buildings on fire and rioters clashing with French police have circulated widely on social media. The destruction has mostly affected Paris and its suburbs, but other cities have faced violence as well.
The home of Vincent Jeanbrun, the mayor of a south Paris suburb, L’Haÿ-les-Roses, was attacked when he was at a town hall, but his wife and two young children were chased out by the mob, The Telegraph reported. The local prosecutor called the attack on the mayor’s home and family an “assassination attempt.”