Man arrested for insulting Sarkozy

25th June 2010, Comments 0 comments

Police arrested a young man for insulting President Nicolas Sarkozy as the leader visited a deprived suburb and the suspect will go before a judge on Friday, a court official said.

The 21-year-old was arrested at a train station in Seine-Saint-Denis, near the northern Paris suburb of La Corneuve, where Sarkozy made an unannounced visit on Thursday.

The official said the suspect was hurt and bruised during his arrest and a doctor had signed him off work for nine days. He was to be appear before a judge early on Friday afternoon.

The court official did not specify the insult the man is alleged to have made on Thursday to Sarkozy, who has had an unfriendly reception on several previous visits to certain suburbs.

It was in La Corneuve that Sarkozy sparked an outcry in June 2005 when as interior minister he visited a housing estate in the wake of a fatal shooting and said he planned to "clean it out with a power hose."

Four months later, suburbs around Paris and other French cities exploded in violent riots that were sparked by the death of two youths fleeing from police.

The violence was blamed partly on bad relations between authorities and locals in such suburbs, which are home to large immigrant populations and suffer from high unemployment.

Last month a boy threw a plastic bottle at Sarkozy as he visited a school to in Beauvais, north of Paris, to discuss violence in French schools. The bottle missed its target.


© 2010 AFP

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