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Cops Hurt, Buses Burned In “Calm” Night In FR

From the lovers of the gorgeous mosaic at the DNC's Associated Press:

6 police hurt in violence across France

By Elaine Ganley, Associated Press Writer | October 28, 2006

CLICHY-SOUS-BOIS, France –Six police officers suffered minor injuries and 25 people were arrested in scattered violence across France on the first anniversary of the start of nationwide riots, the Interior Ministry said Saturday.

Police had deployed 4,000 reinforcements across the country Friday night to brace for a replay of violence in mostly poor, immigrant suburbs.

Marauding youths torched two public buses and police and firefighters were targeted in some towns, but overall, the Interior Ministry said in a statement that the night was "relatively calm."

Six officers were slightly injured, the statement said, without elaborating on where or how. Of the 25 arrests, 21 were in the Paris suburbs, where the greatest violence had been expected.

The bus attacks hit Le Blanc Mesnil, not far from the site where two teens were electrocuted in a power substation in Clichy-sous-Bois on Oct. 27, 2005, after what they thought was a police chase. Their deaths set off three weeks of rioting.

About 1,400 cars were burned nationwide in a single night at the height of last year's rioting, fueled by anger at France's failure to offer equal opportunities to many minorities — especially those of Arab and black African origin, and France's 5 million-strong Muslim population.

One bus was engulfed in flames at the foot of a high-rise housing project.

"Four guys attacked Bus 346," said witness Thierry Ange, 19. "They made everyone get off, then they hit a woman and dragged out the bus driver by his tie," then torched the bus with a gasoline bomb in a bottle, he said.

The blackened carcass of another bus sat across town. Two armed men had forced passengers off the bus, police said.

Assailants also tried to burn a bus in Reims in eastern France, the Interior Ministry said.

Police and firefighters were targeted in Clichy-sous-Bois, in Meaux to the southeast, and in Toulouse in southern France, the statement said.

Scores of police, wielding shields and backed by a helicopter blaring its lights, swept into a tough housing project in Montfermeil, a neighboring town to Clichy-sous-Bois, and several youths responded by throwing stones.

Up to 30 cars were torched in Montfermeil, according to another police official.

Paris' transport authority responded to Friday's violence by curtailing bus services in the Seine-Saint-Denis region north of the capital, which is home to thousands of immigrants and their French-born children.

Some 7,000 police are on duty on an average night in France, officials have said.

France's trouble integrating minorities and the recent suburban unrest are becoming issues in the campaign for next year's presidential and parliamentary elections.

Mind you, this is the calm you get when you have every available policeman out on the street.

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, October 28th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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