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Last Updated: Friday, 4 November 2005, 14:13 GMT
French riots spread beyond Paris
Burnt-out car in Paris after the eighth consecutive night of rioting
The unrest has been spreading

The violence that has wracked Paris suburbs over the past week has spread to new areas and outside the French capital for the first time.

Youths burned buildings and more than 500 vehicles in the eighth consecutive night of rioting. Nearly 80 arrests were made in Paris.

Cars were torched in the eastern city of Dijon, and sporadic unrest broke out in southern and western France.

The unrest was sparked by the deaths of two teenagers of African origin.

Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin has pledged to restore order following criticism of the government's failure to end violence.

Thursday night's incidents occurred in several towns to the north-east and west of the capital, including Aulnay-sous-Bois.

Most of the attacks took place in the largely immigrant area of Seine-Saint-Denis, where about 1,300 police had been deployed.

Gangs of attackers

As on previous nights, gangs of youths armed with bricks and sticks roamed the streets of housing estates. The situation had calmed down at dawn.

In the reported overnight incidents:

  • A 56-year-old disabled bus passenger suffers severe burns when a Molotov cocktail is thrown on board in the northern Sevran suburb

  • Shots are fired at riot police in various parts of Paris, slightly wounding five officers, police say

    A carpet warehouse in Paris is set alight during the riots

  • A group of officers is targeted near a synagogue in the Seine-Saint-Denis area of Stains, where a primary school is partially burned

  • Police say 519 vehicles were burned and 78 people held in the Paris region, in the worst night of riots so far

  • More than 100 firefighters fight a blaze at a carpet warehouse in Aulnay-sous-Bois; another warehouse is also set alight in Le Blanc Mesnil area

  • Twenty-seven buses are burned at Trappes depot in Yvelines, west of Paris

Outside Paris, as well as the cars set alight in Dijon, unrest flared in the Rouen area of Normandy and in the Bouches-du-Rhone region near Marseilles in the south.

The unrest began after teenagers Bouna Traore, aged 15, and Zyed Benna, 17, were accidentally electrocuted at an electricity sub-station in Clichy-sous-Bois.

Local people say they were fleeing police - a claim the authorities deny. Inquiries are under way.


Amid reports of a cabinet split on the handling of the riots, Mr de Villepin has held talks with Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy and other ministers, as well as MPs and mayors from affected towns.

Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy in Clichy-sous-Bois

Mr Sarkozy had earlier sparked some criticism with hardline comments saying the government would not allow "troublemakers, a bunch of hoodlums, think they can do whatever they want".

The areas affected are poor, largely immigrant communities with high levels of unemployment.

Muslim leaders have urged politicians to show respect for immigrant communities.

Minister for Social Cohesion Jean-Louis Borloo said France had to acknowledge its failure to deal with anger simmering in poor suburbs for decades.

Clichy-sous-Bois: Two teenagers die in electricity sub-station on 27 October. Successive nights of rioting follow rumours they were fleeing police. A number of people arrested or injured.
Aulnay-sous-Bois: A flashpoint after violence spread from Clichy. Shots fired at police and cars and shops set ablaze. Further trouble in eight nearby suburbs, with more shots fired at police.
Elsewhere in Paris: Reports of incidents in towns in the suburban departments of the Val-d'Oise, Seine-et-Marne and Yvelines. Reports of petrol bombs thrown at a police station in the Hauts-de-Seine.
Elsewhere in France: Cars torched in the eastern city of Dijon. Sporadic trouble reported in areas close to Rouen and Marseilles.

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