Riots flare for sixth night outside Paris

Unrest spread across troubled suburbs around Paris in a sixth night of violence as police clashed with angry youths and scores of vehicles were torched in at least nine towns, according to French officials.

    The deaths of two teenagers last Thursday sparked the violence

    Police in riot gear fired rubber bullets at advancing gangs of youths in Aulnay-sous-Bois - one of the worst-hit suburbs - where 15 cars were burned Tuesday night, officials said on Wednesday.

    Youths lobbed Molotov cocktails at an annex to the town hall and threw stones at the firehouse. It was not immediately clear whether the clashes led to any injuries.
     
    Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy told Europe-1 radio that police detained 34 people overnight. Sarkozy - blamed by many for fanning the violence with tough talk and harsh tactics - defended his approach and vowed to restore calm.

    The minister recently called the rioters "scum" and has vowed to "clean out" Paris' troubled suburbs.

    "I speak with real words," Sarkozy told Wednesday's Le Parisien newspaper. "When you fire real bullets at police, you're not a 'youth,' you're a thug."

    Suburban unrest

    Four people were arrested for throwing stones at police in

    Bondy where 14 cars were burned, the prefecture

    said. A fire engulfed a carpet store, but it was not

    known whether the blaze was linked to the

    suburban unrest.

    Officials gave an initial count of 69 vehicles torched in

    nine suburbs across the Seine-Saint-Denis region that arcs

    around Paris on the north and northeast.

    A damaged truck in the northern
    Paris suburb of Sevran

    The area, home

    mainly to families of immigrant origin, most of them from M

    uslim North Africa, is marked by soaring unemployment and

    delinquency.

    Officials said "small, very mobile gangs" were

    harassing police and setting fires to garbage cans and

    vehicles throughout the region.

    France-Info said about 150 fires were burning in suburbs of the Seine-Saint-Denis region.

    Sarkozy - blamed by many for

    fanning the violence with tough talk and harsh tactics -

    met in Paris with youths and officials from

    Clichy-sous-Bois in an effort to end days of rioting.

    But the

    unrest spread even as they met.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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