Paris suburbs seemingly back to slow simmer
PARIS, June 1, 2006 (AFP) – Riot police had Thursday brought two unruly Paris suburbs back under control after an outbreak of street violence there had raised fears of a repeat of last November's nationwide riots.
Montfermeil and neighbouring Clichy-sous-Bois in the northeast of the capital remained under tight security following two nights of unrest which saw up to 100 youths battle riot police and attack public buildings, injuring a dozen police officers.
Some 300 riot police patrolled Montfermeil a town of 24,000 inhabitants overnight Wednesday, along with several firefighter units. But there was no repeat of the violence of the previous two nights.
Early in the evening, police climbed onto the roofs of public housing estates in the area, to remove potentially dangerous objects such as car tyres or stones that could be hurled at them from above.
Run-down housing estates in both suburbs were the epicentre of the riots that spread to some 300 high-immigration French towns last autumn, and relations between police and local youths remains extremely tense.
Montfermeil has been on edge since the centre-right mayor whose home was attacked Monday passed a tough anti-crime decree banning public gatherings of more than three youths. The measure was later blocked in the courts.
Young people from local housing estates told AFP that the trouble began Monday after police used tear gas on a woman whose son had been arrested in connection with a robbery.
The police union Alliance said the woman had “rebelled” when officers came to search her son's home and that, feeling threatened as a group of youths started climbing the stairs, they had “used tear gas to escape.”
Last year's nationwide riots were fuelled by anger at racial discrimination, a lack of educational and employment prospects and police harassment.
Some 10,000 vehicles were torched and more than 3,200 people arrested in three weeks of unrest, which prompted the government to declare a national state of emergency.
Subject: French news