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Last Updated: Saturday, 28 October 2006, 10:15 GMT 11:15 UK
Skirmishes mark riot anniversary
Firefighters tackle a blazing bus in Blanc Mesnil on 27 October
Extra police were deployed after buses were torched
Minor skirmishes were reported in the French capital Paris on the first anniversary of two deaths which sparked riots across the country.

An additional 4,000 officers had been deployed and six were injured in fighting and 25 people were arrested.

Earlier, around 500 people marched in memory of two teenage boys, both from immigrant families, who died in 2005.

Their deaths and the suggestion they had been running from police triggered three weeks of suburban clashes.

"It was a relatively calm night," a police spokesman was quoted by news agency AFP.

During the violence last year - between youths of mainly North African origin and police - more than 10,000 cars were set ablaze and 300 buildings firebombed.

Ahead of the anniversary police had reported an upsurge in violence. On Thursday, two buses were set ablaze.

Buses attacked

In the latest incidents, at least two more buses were set on fire.

Two armed men forced passengers from a bus in the northern Parisian suburb of Blanc Mesnil, before burning it.

A second similar attack took place in the same suburb shortly afterwards, police said.

"What happened is four guys attacked Bus 346," witness Thierry Ange told the Associated Press news agency.

"They made everyone get off, then they hit a woman and dragged out the bus driver by his tie," he said.

Both vehicles were destroyed, but there were no reported injuries.

Appeal for calm

Earlier, several hundred people marched through the suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the riots started.

Photo of teenage boys electrocuted in Clichy-sous-Bois a year ago
Many youths blamed police for the teenage boys' deaths

The families of the two dead youths, Bouna Traore and Zyed Benna, laid wreaths at the electricity sub-station where they were electrocuted.

A monument to the boys was unveiled and the local mayor appealed for calm.

"Last year we crossed Clichy by weaving between the burnt-out wrecks of cars, creating an image of our city that we didn't want to see," said mayor Claude Dillain, quoted by the Associated Press.

"Once again France, and even the world, is watching us and waiting to see what we do. So I appeal solemnly for calm and dignity to prevail here."

But others have warned that the factors which played a key part in the riots - high unemployment, discrimination and youth alienation from mainstream society - remain unchanged.

"What is being done in order to ensure Clichy does not have three times as many unemployed as the rest of France?" Mr Dillain's deputy, Olivier Klein, asked.


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