The attack occured a few hours after two teenagers on a moped were killed in a collision with a police patrol car in the town of Villiers-le-Bel. Rumors have been circulating that officers in the patrol car were responsible for the deaths. Some reports indicate that the police claim that the two were riding a stolen moped without helmets.
This incident oocures in the context of national mobilsations by french civil movements over the last few weeks and ongoing clashes between strikers and police around France,
n in france
Solidarity to the kids
By ZORAN JANKOVIC – 1 hour ago
VILLIERS-LE-BEL, France (AP) — Youth assaulted a police station, torched cars and vandalized stores in a weekend rampage that injured 21 police officers in this rundown Paris suburb.The violence Sunday night, prompted when two teens were killed in a motorbike crash with a police patrol car, was a reminder that tensions that drove nationwide riots in 2005 in immigrant-heavy housing projects remain unresolved.
Questions remained Monday about the crash in Villiers-le-Bel, a town of public housing blocks home to Arab, black and white residents just a few miles north of the French capital.
Eight people were arrested and 21 police officers were injured — including the town's police chief who was beaten in the face after he tried to negotiate with the rioters, a police official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
Residents drew parallels with the 2005 riots, which were prompted by the deaths of two teens electrocuted in a power substation while hiding from police in a suburb northeast of Paris.
The backlash then against police spread across the nation and raged for three weeks, as youth — many of them black or of Arab origin — torched cars and clashed with police in an explosion of anger over discrimination, unemployment and alienation from mainstream French society.
The mayor of Villiers-le-Bel called for calm Monday, though police appeared to be bracing for more potential violence. The mayor demanded an "impartial investigation" as quickly as possible.
"I ask for a stop to this violence, I ask all residents and especially the youth not to succumb to anger," Didier Vaillant said on RTL radio.
Sunday's night's clashes came hours after the motorcycle crashed into the patrol car. A 15-year-old and 16-year-old were killed in the accident.
Police officials said the motorbike ignored traffic rules and ran into the police vehicle, and that the bike was unregistered and neither teen was wearing a helmet.
The police station stood little more than a shell after youths lobbed Molotov cocktails at the building. Few shops in town were spared the violence. About 15 cars were torched, and several fires were set in garbage cans.
The head of the opposition Socialist Party, Francois Hollande, called the violence the result of "a social and political crisis."
"Promises were made. We want to see the results," Hollande said on France-Inter radio of government promises to address suburban tensions. "How long have we been talking about a 'plan for the suburbs'?"