Timeline: France riots

Here is a timeline of France’s urban unrest:

Urban violence has raged nightly since 27 October

19 October:

– Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy declares a “war without mercy” on violence in the suburbs. 
25 October:
– During a visit to the Paris suburb of Argenteuil, Sarkozy is pelted with stones and bottles. He describes rebellious youths in such districts as “rabble”. 
27 October:

– Two boys in the suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, Bouna Traore, a 15-year-old, and Zyed Benna, a 17-year-old, flee a police identity check. They scale the wall of an electrical relay station and are electrocuted as they try to hide near a transformer. Youths in the suburb, hearing of the deaths, go on a rampage, burning 23 vehicles and vandalising buildings and hurling stones and bottles at riot police. 
28 October:

– Four hundred youths clash with police in Clichy-sous-Bois, throwing stones, bottles and Molotov cocktails. Twenty-three officers are hurt and their colleagues fire rubber bullets to push back mobs. Thirteen people are arrested and 29 vehicles are burned. 
29 October:

– Five hundred people march in silence through Clichy-sous-Bois in memory of the dead teenagers.

– Violence resumes at night. Twenty vehicles are burned. Nine people are detained. 
30 October:

– Clashes occur on the outskirts of Clichy-sous-Bois. Six police officers are hurt, 11 people are arrested and eight vehicles are torched. A police teargas grenade hits a mosque, prompting anger among the suburb’s large Muslim community. 
31 October:

– Clashes between youths and police take place in Clichy-sous-Bois and in surrounding suburbs. Nineteen people are arrested and 68 vehicles are torched.

1 November:

– Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin meets the families of the dead teenagers.

– Riots and clashes erupt in suburbs to the north and west of Paris. Altogether, 180 vehicles are torched and 34 people arrested. 
2 November:

– President Jacques Chirac tells ministers: “Tempers must calm down.”

– De Villepin and Sarkozy cancel overseas trips to deal with the spreading violence.

– Trouble erupts in 22 suburban towns north, south, east and west of Paris. A handicapped woman suffers severe burns when youths set a bus on fire. Police say 315 vehicles are torched and at least 15 people arrested. 
3 November:

– A criminal investigation is opened into the deaths of the two teenagers.

– The riots spread to other areas around France, in Dijon, Marseille and in Normandy. Seven cars are set alight in central Paris. In all, 517 vehicles are torched in and around the capital and another 78 people are arrested. 
4 November:

– Arson hit-and-run attacks take place in suburbs around Paris and other French cities. A total of 897 vehicles are torched and more than 250 people arrested. 

5 November:

– Paris Prosecutor General Yves Bot says, “We can see organised actions, a strategy” in the violence.

– The rampages take place in suburbs outside Paris and other cities. At least 70 people are arrested and more than 600 vehicles burned. Police use seven helicopters with lights and cameras to chase fast-moving youths who set fire to property then flee.

6 November:

– Rioters fire birdshot at police, wounding 10 officers.

– Chirac promises to arrest and punish those who “sow violence or fear”.

– Churches are targeted by rioters.

7 November:

– De Villepin announces that France will impose curfews under a state of emergency law and call up police reservists to stop the rioting.

– Unrest spreads from Paris’s suburbs to nearly 300 cities and towns.

8 November:

– Rioters shrug off emergency laws as they continue looting. A newspaper office is torched and France’s second-largest city’s subway system hit by a firebomb.

– Chirac’s security measures take effect on Wednesday and are valid for a 12-day state of emergency.

11 November:

– Remembrance Day ceremonies in central Paris draw a large police presence, but no trouble is reported. Authorities in the capital use their new powers to ban public meetings, citing internet calls for youths to protest.

12 November:

Paris is quiet, but in Lyon police use tear gas to disperse stone-throwing youths, in the first clash in the heart of a major city. The interior ministry says expulsions of convicted foreigners could start on Monday.

13 November:

Authorities in Lyon impose a ban on public meetings during the day. Police are confident things are returning to normal. Far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen says the riots are the result of massive immigration from the Third World.

14 November:

The French Cabinet approves a bill to extend the country’s state of emergency for three months.

Source: News Agencies