President Emmanuel Macron left an EU conference in Brussels early on Friday to return to France, where three nights of rioting had erupted over a police shooting of a teenager.
Macron cancelled a media conference scheduled for the summit’s second and final day in order to return to Paris.
As he walked away from the press, he said nothing.
Protesters enraged by the police shooting of a teenager damaged a dozen buses in a depot in the French capital’s north overnight on Friday, disrupting public transport.
The buses were destroyed after Molotov cocktails were thrown overnight into the facility in Aubervilliers, north of Paris, causing “very significant damage” but no injuries, according to the RATP transport authority.
“We need to condemn this violence very strongly. Nothing can justify it,” Transport Minister Clement Beaune told reporters as he visited the scene, adding that he felt “indignation and disgust, when you see that public services are attacked it can only pile injustice atop injustice”.
“We are taking all the measures for public transport to work, we need our trams, buses and trains to work. Traffic is resuming as best it can this morning, but security comes first.”
Buses and trams had already stopped working from 9:00 pm (1900 GMT) Thursday after a tram had been attacked in protest the night before, only resuming in the early morning.
The metro has largely continued working without problem.
“People are attacking the things that make everyday life possible… in the areas where they’re really needed,” said RATP chief Jean Castex, a former prime minister under President Emmanuel Macron.
On Friday morning however some 23 bus lines out of a total of 350 in the city were not working while two tram lines were completely closed and others offered partial service or had major delays, operator RATP said.
Services were resuming “bit by bit, based on the state of the routes and the local security situation,” the RATP said.
“Traffic on the bus and tram networks will be very severely disrupted today,” it wrote on Twitter.
“We’re putting safety first and won’t take any unnecessary risks,” minister Beaune said, adding that security at bus depots would be stepped up.
France has seen three consecutive nights of nationwide protests and rioting after the killing of Nahel, 17, by a policeman during a traffic stop in the Paris suburb of Nanterre on Tuesday.
His death, with a bystander’s video undermining police claims he was shot as he drove directly at officers, has revived longstanding grievances about policing and racial profiling in France’s low-income and multiethnic suburbs.