Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Monday night more than sixty French police officers have been left injured after a second night of running battles with youths in Paris suburb, Villiers-le-Bel. The rioting began Sunday night after two teenagers on a motorbike died after a collision with a police patrol vehicle.

36 vehicles were set ablaze, including a garbage truck and a police vehicle. A witness told Reuters that police were pelted with stones, petrol bombs and large firecrackers. Police responded with tear gas, rubber bullets and paint guns. BBC reports that two schools, a library and shops were badly damaged as violence spread to five towns in the Val-d’Oise department.

President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is on a state visit to China, urged calm. “I call on everyone to calm down and let the justice system decide who was responsible,” he said in Beijing.

In a final tally of Sunday’s violence, officials said 28 cars and five buildings were set ablaze, including a police station. There were 26 police and fire officers injured. Nine people were arrested on Sunday.

In 2005, France saw more than two weeks of civil unrest in violence that was also triggered by the death of two teenagers.