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Explosion of violence in France: 2nd night of riots in Paris suburbs

Paris - More than 60 police officers were injured, five of them seriously, when bands of youths rioted late on Monday for a second consecutive night in the suburbs of Paris after two minority teenagers riding a motor bike died when a police car crashed into them.
Public buildings, cop shops, cars, were set on fire by angry youths. A police station has been attacked with petrol bombs and guns.

This incident oocures in the context of national mobilsations by french civil movements over the last few weeks and ongoing clashes between strikers and police around France.
cop shop
cop shop
Five of the injured police officers were reported in serious condition, including one riot police officer who was shot in the shoulder with a high-calibre rifle.

In addition, 63 vehicles and five buildings, including a library and two schools, were set on fire as the unrest spread to six suburban ghettos north of Paris 24 hours after two youths, aged 15 and 16, were killed when their off-road motorcycle was struck by a police car in the suburb of Villiers-le-Bel.

In two days of rioting, about 100 police officers were injured and nearly 100 cars and a dozen buildings set on fire or otherwise damaged by bands of roving youths.

The events are similar to the three weeks of urban unrest that swept through poor suburbs throughout France in November 2005 after two teenagers from another Paris suburb were electrocuted while hiding from police.

Opposition politicians wasted no time in blaming the government of President Nicolas Sarkozy for the renewed rioting.

"No one has learned anything from (the riots of) 2005," Socialist lawmaker Arnaud Montebourg said Tuesday on Canal Plus television, and criticised the centre-right government for a "disengagement from public services".

On Monday, more than 100 hooded youths tossed paving stones and Molotov cocktails at riot police near the site of the accident in Villiers-le-Bel. Some sources said that pistols were used to fire lead shot at police.

Police replied with tear gas and flash-ball projectiles. In some locations, youths and police officers engaged in hand-to-hand combat, with the rioters using trash can lids as shields against nightsticks, France Info radio said.


video impressions from the suburbs of Paris 27.Nov.2007 08:30


time lapse of paris suburb:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiPZapaICH8
first person report from an immigrant living in the suburbs:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-T6tws8WBbM
assault on police in Paris suburb:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OK2lmo5meYg

more videos of the ongoing riots:

pics. slide show of the riots in 2005 27.Nov.2007 08:40


Riot or guerrilla war in Fance. 27.Nov.2007 10:25


86 police officers have been wounded in a second night of riots in the French suburb of Villiers-le-Bel outside of Paris. The rioters have also burned down at least one police station. Four of the police officers where shot and six are in critical condition. The riots started two days ago after two minority teenagers on a motorcycle collided with a police car and died. Some of the witness to the event claim, the police did not help the two dying children. One protester was quoted by the New York times as saying ""This is war. There is no mercy. We want at least two policemen dead." The question I'm forced to ask given the severity of the tactics being used by the rioters, is this a riot or the start of a guerrilla war in France? And are these tactics of extreme violence effective?

Here is the New York Times article:

November 28, 2007
86 Police Officers Hurt in Paris Riots
from:  link to www.nytimes.com

VILLIERS-LE-BEL, France, Nov. 27 — The number of police officers injured during clashes by French youths in a suburb north of Paris rose to 86 after a second bout of violence overnight in which 60 officers were hurt, including six who are in serious condition, police officials said.

Of the six in serious condition, four were hurt as a result of gunfire, said Francis Debuire, a representative of the General Union of Police Officers in the district where the fighting took place. One of the four lost an eye and another officer's shoulder was shattered by a bullet after some of the youths used shotguns as well as firebombs and rocks.

Police union officials expressed concern that the violence was more severe than the fighting that had occurred in the Paris suburbs over three weeks of rioting in 2005. "The violence over the last days has been worse than two years ago in terms of its intensity," Mr. Debuire said.

The clashes began when two teenagers traveling on a motorbike died in a collision with a police car Sunday afternoon in the town of Villiers-le-Bel, about 12 miles north of Paris, in the Val d'Oise department.

Police were bracing for a third round of violence tonight. As the sun went down today in the town, a working- and lower-class suburb, an estimated 200 people marched silently through the main street past shops, bars and a housing project.

There were people of all ages, including some carrying babies. There was also a large contingent of youths, ranging in age from 10 years old to their early 20s. Some of these were carrying images of the two slain youths, and many of them blamed the police for their deaths. They vowed to continue their violent protest.

At around 5 p.m., rows of riot police vans moved into the town in preparation for what police said would be further violence tonight, and a police helicopter circled above the town near the site of Sunday's collision. There were many people on the streets; other groups of local people were coming home from work and gathered on street corners.

Among the marchers, a young man who identified himself as Cem, 18, but who refused to give his full name, said: "This is war. There is no mercy. We want at least two policemen dead."

Police officials said the government had ordered as many as 130 extra officers in addition to the 450 officers who confronted the youths on Monday night, and officers were being brought in from across France as reinforcements.

As in the 2005 riots, the youths on Sunday and Monday nights were attacking the police mostly with firebombs, rocks and other projectiles, but this time they also had guns. Mr. Debuire said youths used shotguns.

President Nicolas Sarkozy, who has appealed for calm, will hold an emergency meeting with security officials to discuss the violence when he returns from a visit to China on Wednesday, his spokesman said in a statement.

Prime Minister Francois Fillon and the interior minister, Michèle Alliot-Marie, will both attend the meeting, said the spokesman, David Martinon.

The two teenagers who died on Sunday were identified in the French news media merely as 15-year-old Moushin and 16-year-old Larami, who were riding a motorbike in Villiers-le-Bel.

In the clashes Monday night, dozens of youths confronted large contingents of heavily armed riot police officers and moved nimbly from target to target on several fronts, burning cars and a garbage truck. They pushed riot police officers into the middle of a four-way intersection, raining projectiles on them from at least two directions. Police officers responded with tear gas and paint guns to mark the attackers for future arrest. Broken glass and used tear-gas canisters littered the roads.

At least 15 cars were burned, with the police guarding the local fire department and protecting firefighters as they put out fires. At least three buildings suffered some fire damage, including a library and a post office, a spokesman for the police in Val d'Oise said.

Standing on the sideline of the battles Monday night, one youth was holding a poster of one of the two dead youths: "Deceased 25/11/07. Dead for nothing."

The clashes on Monday night took place not far from where Moushin and Larami died, and they followed other confrontations between youths and the police on Sunday night.

Within an hour of the teenagers' deaths, bands of youths began to throw stones at a police car. Through the evening, they burned down the police station in Villiers-le-Bel, and set fire to four privately owned buildings and 28 cars, the police said. Nine arrests were made, mainly in Villiers-le-Bel.

The violence spread to nearby Sarcelles, and some damage was reported in other towns. The two deaths in Villiers-le-Bel recall the deaths of Zyed Benna and Bouna Traoré, teenagers who were electrocuted in a power station in another suburb, Clichy-sous-Bois, in October 2005. Their deaths led to the three-week civil unrest that eventually spread to many urban areas in France. Mr. Sarkozy, who was interior minister at the time, made a name for himself by calling for tough measures against the youths involved.

Ariane Bernard contributed reporting from Villiers-le-Bel, France.