Youths riot in Paris suburb, attack police station

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Monday, November 26, 2007

A car is torched in Strasbourg during the 2005 civil unrest in France.
Image: Francois Schnell.

In six hours, dozens of young people in Sarcelles and Villiers-le-Bel, a suburb of Paris, France, attacked a police station, burned cars and broke into shops after two teenagers were killed in a car crash with a police vehicle. The station was pelted with Molotov cocktails and guns were fired at officers inside the station.

A police captain, who tried to negotiate with the youths, had to be hospitalized with serious injuries to the face. The youths also set several cars ablaze. According to police, at least 21 officers were injured in rioting in Villiers-le-Bel and Arnouville. The police station in Villiers-le-Bel was set on fire and the one in Arnouville was ransacked.

Two hours before, a police patrol vehicle collided with two teenagers riding a stolen green mini cross motorbike without helmets. The teens, aged 15 and 16, were both killed in the accident which took place in Villiers-le-Bel.

Didier Vaillant, mayor of Villers-le-Bel, appealed for calm and assured there will be "an impartial investigation, for full light to be shed" on the accident.

Omar Sehhouli, brother to one of the dead teenagers, said the unrest "was not violence but an expression of rage."