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.