Youths riot in French town
5 October 2007, SAINT-DIZIER (AFP) - French police clashed overnight with youths who went on a rampage in a town in eastern France, prompting Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie to travel to the troublespot.
5 October 2007
SAINT-DIZIER (AFP) - French police clashed overnight with youths who went on a rampage in a town in eastern France, prompting Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie to travel to the troublespot.
Between 40 and 50 masked youths used metal bars to smash a firefighters' vehicle and a police car dispatched to a shopping mall in Saint-Dizier, said Yves Guillot, the head of the Haute-Marne regional government.
The youths then fanned out across the town of 30,000 inhabitants, setting fire to two buildings, a car rental office and 16 vehicles. Police reinforcements were sent in to quell the violence.
"We are trying to understand what happened. We have had clashes in our town but not on this scale," said Mayor Francois Cornut-Gentille.
The youths are said to be residents of Saint-Dizier's low-income housing project, Vert-bois, which is home to 12,000 people.
Alliot-Marie was due to travel to Saint-Dizier, some 200 kilometers (125 miles) east of Paris, after police and fire emergency authorities were targeted in the violence, her office said.
Hundreds of suburbs across France exploded into rioting for three weeks in late 2005, highlighting the nation's failure to integrate its Arab and African immigrants.
Subject: French news