Police battle anti-Sarkozy protestors

7th May 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, May 7, 2007 (AFP) - Riot squads fired tear gas Sunday at protestors throwing stones, bottles and, in one instance, acid at police in cities across France after right-winger Nicolas Sarkozy's presidential victory.

PARIS, May 7, 2007 (AFP) - Riot squads fired tear gas Sunday at protestors throwing stones, bottles and, in one instance, acid at police in cities across France after right-winger Nicolas Sarkozy's presidential victory.

Clashes took place at Paris' Place de la Bastille, where about 5,000 supporters of the defeated Socialist candidate Segolene Royal had gone to await the election results and had stayed on after Sarkozy's triumph.

Up to 300 rioters, some wearing scarves around their faces, used bottles and stones in running attacks on police, who responded with baton charges, tear gas and water cannon.

"Police everywhere, justice nowhere," shouted some of the rioters, while others screamed "Sarko-fascist."

A small crowd of demonstrators, brandishing black and red anarchist flags, set fire to an effigy of Sarkozy before tearing it limb from limb and stamping on it.

Police cleared the square of rioters and Royal supporters alike by midnight, but hardcore anti-Sarkozy protesters later gathered nearby. When they began running towards the centre of the city and throwing bottles, police in riot gear gave pursuit and fired tear gas.

At least one injured man could later be seen lying on the ground nearby.

Royal, in a sharp campaign jab on Friday, predicted Sarkozy's election could unleash violence in the mainly immigrant suburbs that were the centre of riots in 2005.

In the Paris suburbs, where the 2005 riots began before quickly spreading across France, more than a hundred cars were burned.

Gangs of youths armed with baseball bats were on the streets in poor suburbs south of Paris, according to police.

Anti-Sarkozy demonstrations took place in several cities across the country Sunday night, with police using tear gas on over 1,000 protestors in the western city of Nantes who began to throw rocks and bottles.

Two police officers were slightly injured by acid thrown on them and 22 people were arrested, police said.

In Marseille, police also fired gas canisters to disperse around 300 protestors in the southern city's central port area.

In the northern city of Lille police battled about 200 bottle-throwing rioters. One rioter was injured and five arrested.

Firefighters in the region said they had to respond to dozens of incidents of burned cars.

In Bordeaux several police were injured, including one seriously hurt by a thrown paving stone, after a gathering of more than 2,000 people turned violent. Police said they arrested 18 people.

In Lyon, a dozen people were lightly injured after several hundred protestors clashed with police, with 25 people detained, officials said.

Several shop windows were smashed and waste bins set on fire in the city centre, as well as around 40 cars in the region, according to firefighters and police.

Disturbances were also reported in the eastern cities of Nancy and Metz.

Supporters of the president-elect were oblivious to the nasty turn of events. They held a giant celebratory party in a calm part of central Paris.

Sarkozy won 53 percent of the vote, defeating Royal, who garnered 47 percent.


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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