For a third straight day, rioters have caused mayhem and injury in the banlieus of Paris. The riots began after two kids were involved in a car accident with a police vehicle, but the circumstances aren't entirely clear:
An angry mob clashed with riot police and wrecked cars and buildings in the town of Villiers-le-Bel, north of Paris, after the Sunday night incident. Rioters bombarded police with Molotov cocktail bombs, bottles filled with acid and baseball bats, as the violence spread to the nearby towns of Longjumeau and Grigby Monday night.So, far from the police being at fault for the unfortunate deaths of these two kids, it appears that locals automatically assumed the police were at fault and began rioting after spreading the rumor that police did nothing to help the kids who were struck.
More than 60 police officers were injured, with five still in hospital in a serious condition, according to reports in a number of French newspapers.
A spokesman for the police authorities in the Val d'Oise prefecture refused to confirm the numbers of police injuries, however. He told CNN that police feared the information could further enflame the situation.
The police spokesman said 60 cars, a library and car dealer's showroom had been set on fire in Villiers-le-Bel. He said a police station had also been damaged and 15 garbage cans set ablaze.
Security was tightened Tuesday with helicopters deployed to patrol over the town, the spokesman said.
The disturbances come two years after widespread rioting caused chaos in other Paris suburbs.
The 15- and 16-year-old boys killed in the Sunday evening crash were both sons of African immigrants, police said. They died when their motorbike hit a patrol car in Villiers-le-Bel, police said.
Some residents in the town, populated largely by immigrants and their French-born children, accused police of fleeing the scene without helping the boys.
However three eyewitnesses, interviewed on TV, say the police did not run from the scene but tried to revive the two boys with mouth to mouth resucitation.
Police said the teens drove through a red light without wearing helmets and on an unregistered bike.
Omar Sehhouli, the brother of one of the victims, told French media the police involved should be arrested. "Everyone knew the two boys here," he told French radio. "What happened, that's not violence, it's rage."
The police appear to have done nothing wrong in the initial car accident, especially if the two boys ran the red light and weren't wearing safety helmets. As for the rioting, the police have not done nearly enough to quell the violence by arresting those instigating the riots or those involved in the roving mobs.
French President Nicholas Sarkozy will be meeting with the French Prime Minister to deal with the security issue, even as the riots have spread to other towns surrounding Paris.
Clashes spread to other suburbs north of Paris after midnight, with new riots breaking out in Cergy, Ermont and Goussainville, also in the Val d’Oise area. In all, five buildings - the Bellevue library, two schools, a supermarket and a public accounts office - were burned down, and 63 vehicles were set on fire.It looks like the situation is set to repeat the 2005 riots, which is bad news for France. Nearly 10,000 cars were torched in those riots that lasted nearly three weeks.
Early Tuesday, a helicopter hovered over Villiers-le-Bel, 20 km north of the French capital, "to locate people stirring up trouble," a police officer told AFP.
Thus far, the number of cars torched hasn't been mentioned, but the number of police injured in the riots is far in excess of those earlier riots. Thus far, 70 police have been injured in the clashes with rioters and a number of buildings have been looted or torched.
A state prosecutor is looking into the accident:
State prosecutor Marie-Therese Givry on Monday ordered an internal police investigation for "involuntary manslaughter and failure to assist persons in danger." Speaking to reporters, she later said witnesses had confirmed the police officers' version that the bike smashed into the side of their car during a routine patrol.Again, based on eyewitnesses and the police version, the police did nothing wrong, but the incident was nonetheless used as a spark to launch in to yet more rioting.
Hot Air is also covering the riots.
This post will be updated throughout the day as events warrant.
The rioting has been far more intense and violent than the 2005 riots. The rioters have been firing on police with rifles and shotguns.
The violence was more intense than during three weeks of rioting in 2005, said the official, Patrice Ribeiro. Police were shot at and are facing “genuine urban guerillas with conventional weapons and hunting weapons,” Mr. Ribeiro said.Again, the rumor that the police did nothing to help the children is spread despite the fact that it simply didn't happen.
Some officers were hit by shotgun pellets, Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said. She said there were six serious injuries, “people who notably were struck in the face and close to the eyes.”
The riots were triggered by the deaths of two teens killed in a crash with a police patrol car on Sunday in Villiers-le-Bel, a town of public housing blocks home to a mix of Arab, black and white residents in Paris' northern suburbs.
36 cars were torched in Villiers-le-Bel and surrounding areas by the rioting thugs. There will be more.
The number of police injured last night was 86 and the rioters aren't going to be satisfied until they kill policemen (several were seriously injured) and French police union officials are saying that the use of firearms by the rioters is systematic. This isn't a good sign, and it's already nighttime in Paris.
"Two things are cause for anxiety," Douhane Mohamed of the Synergie police union was quoted as saying by the news agency AFP.Night three of the rioting is upon us. Expect a greater number of carbeques, more police officers injured, and more property damage.
"Signs that the violence is spreading to neighbouring areas, which have already had their share of burned cars, and the almost systematic use of fire-arms against police."
It also appears that the rioters are using kids as spotters to help the rioters stay ahead of the police.
There are also signs that children as young as ten on bikes acting as spotters and a youth with a scanner tuned to police frequencies to keep one step ahead of the police.UPDATE:
Gateway Pundit has a bunch of photos, maps, and video of the ongoing situation in France.
While police are increasing their presence in the hopes of clamping down on rioting, which is far more violent than earlier riots over the past two years, I'm not confident that they'll succeed.
Meanwhile, one of the two kids killed in the incident who sparked the last two days of rioting had maintained a blog.
Since the riots started two days ago, 120+ police officers have been injured, four of them seriously after being hit by buckshot from hunting weapons, according to police figures. In three weeks of rioting in 2005, 200 officers were injured. Many of those injured over the past two days have been hit by gunfire.
Labels: French riots, Paris