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Pesky French “Youths” Are Rampaging Again

From those lovers of diversity at the "Paper Of Treason," the New York Times:

Officers with riot shields gathered early Wednesday in Montfermeil, where youths set fire to a police car.

In Paris Suburbs, Worrying Attack by Youths

June 1, 2006
By ARIANE BERNARD

PARIS, May 31 — Youths in two Paris suburbs threw rocks at police officers and set a dozen cars ablaze overnight Tuesday, in the second night of violence reminiscent of the unrest that swept France in October and November.

The police in the two towns northeast of Paris, Montfermeil and Clichy-sous-Bois, arrested 13 people, including Muhittin Altun, 18, the only survivor of the electrocution accident that set off the wave of violence last year. Two youths died in that incident.

About 15 youths attacked the police with rocks and other projectiles in a housing project in Clichy-sous-Bois about 9 p.m. Tuesday. The police responded with tear gas and rubber bullets, and arrested a number of the alleged assailants, including Mr. Altun, said a national police spokeswoman, who under police rules cannot be identified. The attackers also burned a number of vehicles and set fire to a police car in which four officers were sitting, the spokeswoman said. The officers escaped unharmed.

About 11 p.m., a group of 30 young people started throwing rocks at a police station in neighboring Montfermeil, where the unrest started Monday night after the arrest of a local youth earlier in the day.

The situation in both towns was under control by about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, the police said.

Mr. Altun was released Wednesday morning but faces charges of "taking part in a group armed with rocks" and "voluntary degradation of a police vehicle as part of a group," which could carry sentences of up to five years, said a spokesman for the court in Bobigny, near Clichy-sous-Bois.

"He was seen with a rock in hand, and he was seen by the police throwing this rock toward the police vehicle," said the judicial official, whose name may not be published under French court practices.

Mr. Altun’s lawyer told the French news network LCI that his client was not involved in the violence.

Mr. Altun spent more than a month in the hospital for the severe burns he suffered when he and two friends took refuge in a power substation last October in Clichy-sous-Bois, thinking they were being chased by the police.

He was to have gone Wednesday to the site of the accident as part of the investigation of that case, but the visit was postponed by the investigative judge, the judicial spokesman said.

It was unclear whether the decision to postpone was made before or after Mr. Altun’s arrest.

The rioting that began in Clichy-sous-Bois last autumn spread to hundreds of French towns, including Montfermeil — towns mainly of housing projects with high populations of sub-Saharan and North African immigrants.

The police stepped up efforts to contain any new violence, after attacks on Monday against the city hall in Montfermeil and the residence of the mayor.

On Tuesday night, 380 officers were assigned to patrol the two centers of protest, with a helicopter projecting light on the crowd.

"Some youths can be throwing projectiles from the roofs — a micro-wave oven, sometimes chimneys they take apart and throw into the streets," said the police spokeswoman.

The authorities are concerned that the violence could spread as it did in November. The tough law-and-order interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, visited a police station in nearby Gagny on Tuesday night, stressing the government’s determination to curb more trouble.

"I will not allow more disorderliness — neither in Clichy-sous-Bois, nor in Montfermeil, nor anywhere else in the republic," Mr. Sarkozy told reporters.

Much of the violence last year was in areas of high unemployment and poor housing, where youths of immigrant origin complain of discrimination. The center-right government has announced measures to alleviate the problems, but little has changed.

A "worrying act"? It sounds like these "youths of immigrant origin" were doing more than worrying.

They set fire to a police car with the officers still in it.

Note that their ringleader is the sole survivor of the brainiacs who managed to incinerate themselves in a power substation.

If at first you don’t succeed…

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, June 1st, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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