Paris suburbs erupts in fourth night of violence

31st October 2005, Comments 0 comments

CLICHY-SOUS-BOIS, France, Oct 31 (AFP) - Police clashed with angry youths in a Paris suburb for the fourth straight night, police said Monday, with accusations over a police teargas grenade thrown into a mosque set to exacerbate the situation further.

CLICHY-SOUS-BOIS, France, Oct 31 (AFP) - Police clashed with angry youths in a Paris suburb for the fourth straight night, police said Monday, with accusations over a police teargas grenade thrown into a mosque set to exacerbate the situation further.

In all, 27 people have been arrested since the violence first erupted late Thursday night.

Eight adults were to go before a judge Monday for throwing projectiles at police officers, six of whom were slightly injured overnight, a state prosecutor, Francois Molins, said. Three teenagers were also to appear before a children's court judge.

The latest night of rioting left eight cars and 16 rubbish bins torched, adding to dozens of other vehicles that were incinerated in the preceding rampages in the northeastern Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois.

There were no reports of civilian casualties.

As for the previous nights of rioting, the violence dissipated before dawn and the suburb was calm during the day Monday.

The unrest was originally triggered when two teenagers, aged 15 and 17, died by electrocution on Thursday after they scaled the wall of an electrical relay station and touched a transformer.

Molins said the boys thought they were being chased by police, but authorities denied that was the case.

Hundreds of the suburb's residents held a peaceful march Saturday in memory of the teenagers, with groups of youths wearing tee-shirts marked "Dead for Nothing".

A lawyer representing the families of the victims, Jean-Pierre Mignard, asked: "Why did these young people, who had done nothing wrong, feel sufficiently threatened to enter a dangerous site, climb over a 2.5-metre barbed-wire covered wall and hide inside a turbine?"

The clashes have pitted youths -- at times a few hundred of them -- against police. A total of 23 officers have been hurt over the four nights of violence.

Clichy-sous-Bois is a low-rent, high-immigration district with much public housing and a history of social problems.

A police teargas grenade thrown into the mosque -- near to which "100 to 150 youths were looking for a fight," according to departmental security spokesman Jean-Luc Sidot -- looked certain to worsen the running conflict.

Muslims inside the building accused police of firing the weapon into a place of worship.

Interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy confirmed that the grenade was of the type used by riot squads, but said "that does not mean that it was fired by a police officer."

An inquiry was underway into the incident, he said, adding that he would speak with the mosque's imam, or prayer leader.

Opposition and rights campaigners said the riots were fuelled by tough new French anti-crime policies espoused by Sarkozy, who vowed to wage a "war without mercy" on crime in the suburbs of Paris just a week before the rampages.

The main police union described the riots as "guerrilla" violence and urged politicians to avoid "putting fuel on the fire" by scoring points against each other over the clashes.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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