Silent tribute held for riots' first victim

7th November 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Nov 7 (AFP) - Some 200 people held a silent tribute on Monday to the first victim linked to the urban violence ripping through France, a 61-year-old man who died in hospital after being assaulted last week.

PARIS, Nov 7 (AFP) - Some 200 people held a silent tribute on Monday to the first victim linked to the urban violence ripping through France, a 61-year-old man who died in hospital after being assaulted last week.

Jean-Jacques Le Chenadec was knocked into a coma last Friday by a young man wearing a hood as he was talking about the riots with a neighbour in a public housing estate in the northern Paris suburb of Stains.

His widow, Nicole, speaking after meeting Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, said of the aggressor: "I want these people punished."

The interior minister, "whom I support with all my heart, has promised to do everything in his power to help us," she added.

A crowd of mourners gathered in Le Chenadec's home town on Monday evening to pay him a tribute, observing a minute of silence and laying a wreath of flowers at the site of the assault.

Concerned that his death could further inflame the situation, the mayor of Stains, Michel Beaumale, sought to play down any link to the current rioting.

"This is a criminal act that nothing can justify, but it would be dangerous to draw a link between the current urban violence and this murder," he said.

The incident, he said, was rather "an illustration of the trouble that adults, and young people who know no language other than violence, have in living together."

According to police, Le Chenadec and his neighbour Jean-Pierre Moreau, 58, who belonged to their building's residents' association, had been discussing the riots at the time of the attack.

Moreau, who was also assaulted and was recovering from his injuries Monday, said the attacker had punched them both after they told him they were talking about their cars -- thousands of which have been torched in the violence.

According to police, both men had been targeted by stone-throwing youths an hour earlier, after stepping in to stop rubbish bins from being vandalised.

According to Nicole Le Chenadec, her husband had had several run-ins with local youths over the past year -- and she warned that the assault was not necessarily tied to the broader unrest.

"This was revenge. My husband had been provoked by youths for the past year. This is not necessarily because of the current rioting," she said.

She also voiced concern that Monday's gathering in Stains could get out of control amid anger over the escalating youth violence.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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