French youths fire on police in clashes

2012-08-14 13:01

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Amiens - About 100 French youths clashed with police overnight, shooting at police, torching cars, a leisure centre and a nursery school in the northern city of Amiens, a government official said.

Police reinforcements were being dispatched and Interior Minister Manuel Valls was due to visit the city, where two nights of violence were apparently sparked by tension over spot police checks on residents.

"Sixteen police were injured, some by buckshot fire," Thomas Lavielle, an official at the prefect's office in the region, told i>TELE TV station.

The Amiens suburb which erupted in violence has already been identified as needing extra policing by Valls' Socialist government.

Tensions remain high in France's rundown suburbs, where poor job prospects, racial discrimination, a widespread sense of alienation from mainstream society and perceived hostile policing have periodically touched off violence.

Weeks of rioting in 2005, the worst urban unrest in France in 40 years, led to the imposition of a state of emergency by the then centre-right government.

The violence provoked months of agonised debate over the state of the grim housing estates that ring many French cities and the integration of millions of black and North African immigrants.

The death of two youths hit by a police car sparked violence in 2007. More unrest followed in 2010, when police shot and killed a youth who had robbed a casino.

Read more on:    france

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