Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Paris Youth Rebel Over Death of Teenager; New Caledonia Unrest

Tuesday, August 11, 2009
07:53 Mecca time, 04:53 GMT

Paris youths riot over teen's death

The unrest in the Bagnolet suburb followed the death of a teenager fleeing police on a motorcyle

Youths set fire to vehicles and threw stones and other objects at police as a second night of rioting broke out in the French capital, Paris.

The unrest in the eastern suburb of Bagnolet early on Tuesday came after a previous night of violence was sparked by the death of an 18-year-old pizza delivery man as he was fleeing police.

Group of youths taunted the police in the streets and stoked fires with rubbish bins and matresses. At least five cars and a bus were torched, an Associated Press television crew said.

The local prefecture, which is the administrative centre for the region, said that a number of people had been detained as the situation was brought under control.

Brice Hortefeux, the interior minister, called for calm and said that "all light will be shed" on the circumstances of the 18-year-old's death by an internal police investigation.

"I want it to be made public as quickly as possible," he said, promising it would be "serious, deep, honest".

Motorcycle crash

Some witnesses said that a police car hit the young motorcyclist after he tried to flee a document check outside the project.

"I saw it with my own eyes .... He didn't stop [and] they hit him," Alexandre Matthias told iTele TV station.

But Philibert Demory, the deputy prosecutor of Bobigny, which handles the region, said that "as it stands so far there is no element to show contact" between the two vehicles.

Police said the teenager lost control of his motorcycle and hit a metal barrier. Autopsy results showed that he died of a neck injury.

About 40 local youths had responded to the incident on Monday by throwing Molotov cocktails at police and firefighters and torching dozens of cars.

'Peaceful dialogue'

Hortefeux has called a meeting on August 31 with government officials in charge of urban and youth policies, as well as neighbourhood associations, to try to "establish a peaceful dialogue" in the housing projects.

In 2005, riots erupted in several Paris suburbs after two teens were electrocuted in a power substation while hiding from police.

Violence also broke out in November 2007 in Villiers-le-Bel, north of Paris, after two teenage boys were killed in a motorbike crash with a police car.

Many people in the poor suburbs complain of unemployment and discrimination among the residents, large numbers of whom are immigrants or the descendants of immigrants.

Source: Agencies

Cars torched in Paris suburb after death of youth

Tuesday, August 11

BAGNOLET, France (AFP) - - Groups of youths torched cars, set garbage bins on fire and threw rocks at police in a Paris suburb, a day after an 18-year-old died fleeing police on his motorbike.

Youths also burned a bus, but a police officer told AFP that no serious incidents in the eastern Paris suburb of Bagnolet had been reported.

On Sunday evening an 18-year-old man on a motocross bike, whose use is prohibited in cities, refused a police request to stop and fled, investigators said.

He crashed into a barrier trying to negotiate a turn, and died of a neck injury according to autopsy results.

Angry youths torched 29 cars, set garbage bins aflame and damaged public property on Sunday night following the death, prompting France's interior minister and the town's mayor to make public appeals for calm.

The accidental deaths in 2005 of two Paris region youths while trying to evade police sparked more than two weeks of rioting that spread across the country.

Teenager death sparks riot in Paris


Some 40 rioters in a Paris suburb have hurled Molotov cocktails at police and firefighters and torched cars in a rampage prompted by the death of a teen pizza deliverer fleeing police.

The interior minister called for calm after the overnight violence.

One person fired at police with a handgun in the rioting in a housing project in Bagnolet, on Paris' eastern edge, Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux said in a statement. No injuries were reported.

The latest eruption of tensions in France's suburbs broke out after an 18-year-old riding his motorcycle through the project tried to flee a document check by police, according to a police official.

The man, who worked as a pizza deliverer, lost control of the vehicle and hit a barrier, and died en route to the hospital, the official said. The official was not authorised to be publicly named because of police policy.

Later, about 40 young people in the neighbourhood responded to the death by hurling Molotov cocktails and projectiles at police and emergency workers on the scene, Hortefeux's office said in a statement.

The rioters set fire to 29 cars and smashed windows of a high school and store, the statement said. One person was detained and order was restored after police reinforcements arrived.

Hortefeux called for calm and insisted that "all light will be shed" on the cause of the young man's death.

The internal police watchdog agency is also investigating the incident. The police official said there was no contact between the police car and the motorcycle.

Tensions between young people and police have long simmered in housing projects in France's suburbs, feeding on poverty, unemployment and anger over discrimination against minorities. The suburbs erupted in 2005 in riots, largely by young Arab and black men of immigrant backgrounds, after two teens were electrocuted in a power substation while hiding from police.

New Caledonia riots end

7:42PM Thursday August 06, 2009

New Caledonian union protesters and authorities have signed an accord ending a week of violent clashes sparked by an airline labour dispute in the South Pacific archipelago, a French government official said.

The dispute at Aircal, owned by the government, had escalated over the past week with unionists calling for a general strike and with clashes between police and protesters.

The clashes, which began over the sacking of a flight attendant, left 28 gendarmes injured. Police arrested 13 protesters.

Television images over the past week showed burning barricades along a main road into the capital, Noumea.

"The situation is completely back to normal. A protocol has been signed during the night," said Michele Lajus, spokeswoman at the Haut Commissariat in Noumea.

"There are no more roadblocks or barricades," the French government official said.

Police reinforcements have been sent from Paris, but police in Noumea said they were no longer needed.

New Caledonia, a major nickel exporter, is one of several overseas French territories that have experienced unrest this year.

Guadelupe, in the Caribbean, and the Reunion in the Indian Ocean have also been hit by strikes and clashes.

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