It's summer - it's Ramadan - it's riot season. From The Press Association, The New York Times and The Telegraph
Rioters have shot at police during a wave of violence that swept part of the northern French town of Amiens. Youths pulled drivers from their cars, stealing the vehicles, and burned a school and a youth centre. At least 16 officers were hurt by the time the riot ended.
At the height of the confrontation, 150 officers - both local and federal riot police - faced the rioters. There were no arrests. Police in Amiens said the riot involved about a hundred young men and began around 9pm on Monday, ending around 4am after federal reinforcements arrived. It was not clear what caused the unrest, but there had been smaller confrontations with police over the past week, including one involving a weekend traffic stop that some local residents thought was unnecessarily violent.
"The confrontations were very, very violent," Amiens Mayor Gilles Dumailly said. He said tensions had been building for weeks between police and locals, whom he described as "people who are in some difficulty."
Gilles Demailly, the Socialist mayor of Amiens, told news agencies that “there have been regular incidents here, but it has been years since we’ve known a night as violent as this, with so much damage done.” He said tensions had been mounting in the area.
The clashes involved about 100 youths from a poor district in northern Amiens and up to 150 police officers, who used tear gas and rubber bullets. A nursery school was ransacked and partly burned, as was a community center.
The district, Fasset, is one of 15 special urban zones identified by the Hollande government that are supposed to get more policing next month.
In Amiens, there had been a few days of “classic violence,” largely the setting of fires in garbage cans, said the prefecture spokeswoman, who according to customary police practice did not give her family name. News reports said that many residents of the neighborhood were attending a wake for a local 20-year-old who had died on Thursday in a motorbike accident when the police arrested a man for dangerous driving. The arrest was seen as insensitive and prompted minor clashes on Sunday. Monday’s clashes began when youths began confronting officers who had come to the area to provide more security there.
“We don’t know the real cause of this violence” Monday night, the spokeswoman said. It's summer - it's Ramadan - it's riot season
French President Francois Hollande on Tuesday promised a tough response . . The state will mobilise all its means to combat these violent acts," Hollande said . . . "Security is not only a priority for us, it is an obligation." Hollande was in the southeastern village of Pierrefeu-du-Var to pay tribute to two female police officers who were shot dead in the line of duty in June.
The visit was intended to underline the Socialist president's support for the police and his determination to address public concerns over crime. But it risked backfiring after the father of one of the two murdered policewomen denounced it as a public relations stunt. Claude Berthaut, whose daughter Audrey was shot dead alongside her colleague Alicia Champlon, said: "I regret that he didn't come before but has instead come for communications purposes 100 days after his election. In my mind, it is two months too late."