Death of Immigrants Spark Riots in France


Most of the residents in the rioting suburb are immigrants from Northern Africa. Clichy-sous-Bois, is a Paris suburb of just over 28,000 where 50 percent of the population is under 25 and one-quarter of the wage earners in each household have no job.

French youth face riot police in the Paris suburb of Clichy, October 29, 2005. Hundreds of French youths fought with police and set cars ablaze on Saturday in a second night of rioting which media said was triggered when two teenagers were electrocuted while fleeing police. The teenagers were killed and a third seriously injured on Thursday night when they were electrocuted in an electricity sub station as they ran away from police investigating a break-in, media reported. (Reuters)

Youths rioted for the second night in a Paris suburb torching 30 cars and fighting with police. Parisians worried that the situation was escalating:

Hundreds of French youths fought with police and set cars ablaze in a northern Paris suburb early yesterday morning in a second successive night of rioting.

The disorder was triggered last week when two teenagers were electrocuted and killed in a local substation while fleeing from police. French authorities insist they were running away from officers investigating a break-in, but people in Clichy-sous-Bois claim that the dead youths had committed no crime.

Firefighters extinguished more than 30 burning cars and dozens of dustbins pushed into makeshift barricades on Friday night and Saturday morning as running battles in the streets of the north-eastern suburb pitted more than 200 riot police against scores of hooded youths. At least one shot was fired at the police, 19 people were detained and 15 officers and one journalist injured, an official spokesman said.

Clichy-sous-Bois is home to 28,300 people a large number of whom are recent immigrants from North or Central Africa. Most live in rundown, low-rise public housing estates. Unemployment rates are among the highest in France and many locals see the police as ‘the enemy’.

Claude Dilain, Socialist mayor of the suburb, called for an ‘efficient, rapid and transparent investigation’ into the deaths of the two teenagers. A relative of one of the dead youths, who were identified by local media as 15-year-old Banou and 17-year-old Ziad, said that the two were among nine boys were playing football and ‘doing nothing wrong’. ‘But one of them did not have an identity card, and so they were scared when they saw the police and ran,’ she said.

The violence has focused attention once more on France’s Interior Minster, Nicholas Sarkozy. Sarkozy, whose law and order policies have drawn frequent criticism from human rights groups, launched a new offensive against crime this month, ordering specially trained police to tackle 25 tough neighbourhoods in cities across France.

One of the last times Cliche was in the news, in October 2001, molotov cocktails were thrown at the Jewish Synagogue, a non-descript building during Kol Nidre services. In August 2002, the synagogue was attacked again.

Clichy-Sous-Bois residents, some wearing t-shirts reading ‘Death for Nothing’, as they walk for the peace Saturday, Oct. 29, 2005, after riots erupted between youths and security forces in the Clichy-Sous-Bois suburb of Paris, France. Hundreds of angry youths went on the rampage Friday, setting fire to cars and shop fronts, after two of their peers died when they were electrocuted while fleeing police. (AP)

The residents held a silent rally after the violence during the night:

Firefighters went into action around 40 times on Friday night in the northeastern suburb where many of the 28,000 residents are African immigrants, police and fire officers said.

After the violence, several hundred took part in a silent march to honour the two dead teenagers, some wearing T-shirts reading “Dead for nothing”.

“Thanks to you, France will now respect us more than this morning, before this silent march,” said Claude Dilain, mayor of Clichy-Sous-Bois, a neighbourhood of high-rise public housing projects.

“We are showing our real face, that of united citizens, whatever our origin or religion or faith,” he said at the march, where the victims’ families appealed for calm among local young people.

Clichy-Sous-Bois opened its first Muslim-Themed ‘Beurger King’ earlier this year to serve halal burgers- meaning burgers made with meat slaughtered according to Islamic dietary laws.

Update: (11:30 PM CST) I guess the silent peace walk didn’t help much on Saturday afternoon… Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs notes the Third night of trouble in Paris suburb following the teenage deaths.

Small Dead Animals says, “Jacques Chirac hates black people!”

Updated Postings on the French Riots:
Death of Immigrants Spark Riots in France
“Jacques Chirac Doesn’t Care about Black People.”
Mild Night of Paris Rioting as Police Garage, 11 Cars Torched!
Jacques Insists on Calm as Paris Descends into Quagmire
Violence Escalates! France in Retreat!
France Demands Calm! Rioters Take Up Arms!
Rioting Day #9… Paris Becomes Palestine
Day #10: US Military on Call to Rescue France
Day 11: France Spirals Out of Control
Day 12 & 13: French Riots Ring Alarm Bells Across Europe
Day 14: French Rioters Move on to Bigger Targets
Day 17: Tsunami of Rioting Continues in France
Days 17 & 18: Violence Spreads in Europe

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