France riots enter second night

Inquiry ordered into two teenagers' deaths that set off riots in Paris suburb.

    Police confronted rioters with tear
    gas and rubber bullets [EPA] 

    Dozens of youths had clashed with police on Sunday after the two, aged 15 and 16, were killed in a traffic accident with a police car.
     
    A police union said that gangs of youths shot at police, about 30 cars were torched and shops and buildings were looted.
     
    Twenty-five policemen and one firefighter on Sunday and at least 30 policemen on Monday night were injured.
     
    Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, speaking while on a trip to Beijing, appealed for calm and "for the judiciary to decide who bears responsibility".
     
    The Paris suburbs remain an area of tension between the authorities and immigrant communities after rioting in 2005.
     
    Police stations torched
     
    The authorities boosted security in Villiers-le-Bel, a town north of the capital, where youths set fire to the town's police station.
     
    Another police station in neighbouring Arnouville-les-Gonesse was ransacked.
     

    Firemen doused flames that engulfed a garage in Villiers before it could spread to a neighbouring garage and a nearby petrol station.

     

    The two teenagers were riding a stolen motorcycle when they collided with a police vehicle in Villiers-le-Bel on Sunday, triggering the unrest.

     

    The police were accused of fleeing the scene by about 100 youths who converged on the crash site at a housing estate.

     

    Police said the motorcycle had hit a police car on a routine patrol.

     

    Neither teenager was wearing a helmet, witnesses said.

     

    'Manslaughter'

     

    An internal police investigation has been ordered for "involuntary manslaughter and failure to assist persons in danger", a state prosecutor said.

     

    The police investigatory body initially said the police car was unable to avoid the collision, due to the motorcycle travelling at high speed.

     

    But it also said the police were at "serious fault" in terms of assisting the motorcycle's riders, a police source said.

     

    Omar Sehhouli, the brother of one of the victims, said the police had rammed the motorcycle and did not assist the youths.

     

    He said it was "failure to assist a person in danger ... it is 100 per cent a [police] blunder".

    SOURCE: Agencies


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