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27 Nov, 2007 16:59

Riots in Paris escalate, dozens injured

Paris is bracing itself for further violence on Tuesday after two consecutive nights of rioting in the suburbs. More than seventy police have been injured in skirmishes that left dozens of shops, buildings and businesses damaged.

President Sarkozy will return from China on Wednesday and will meet with top aides to discuss ways to suppress the rioting which started after two teenagers were killed in a traffic accident with police.

Prime Minister Fillion has vowed to take a hard line against those who attack the police.

The clashes began on Sunday night after a police car hit and killed two teenagers on a motorbike.
Locals say the police provoked the violence.
The police say the crash was an accident and that the teenagers were riding a stolen motor-bike with no helmets and that they didn’t respect the right of way. Eyewitnesses contest this.
“They were definitely chased off by the police who said they’d give them a knock with  their car bumper if they saw them again,” said one of them.
An investigation has been opened to find out what happened and the mayor of Villiers-le-Bel, Didier Vaillant, says he doesn’t want any repetition.
“We've requested an impartial investigation in order to get the truth. I’ve asked the young people to keep calm. Violence is useless and won’t bring the boys back. Our city is in mourning. It’s suffering and I want to make sure nothing like this will happen again,” he commented.
In 2005, the deaths of two teenagers, electrocuted in a substation after being chased by police, sparked the worst civil unrest France had seen for more than 40 years.
Such riots highlight the fact that immigrants living in France are far from happy with the way they feel they're treated.
The police and President Nicolas Sarkozy – who used to be nicknamed France’s top cop – are largely hated in the immigrant-populated suburbs, where the predominant feeling is that the French government would prefer to ignore their existence.