Monday, June 16, 2008

A Silent March after Burning 60 Cars

link to photo

A young man dies in what is believed to be a drug related confrontation in northeast France on Saturday night (14th). Sixty police officers were dispatched as dozens of cars were burned. People connected this confrontation with the French riots in the Banlieue in 2005. Right wing Marine La Pen Marine criticized Sarkozy for having soft position on security, which Marine believes led to the riot.

On Sunday, the 15th, a group held a silent march in response to the killing. Le Figaro newspaper states that about 50 people attended, however in the photo from the march (above) it appears to have been a higher number.


Agence France Presse -- English
June 15, 2008 Sunday 2:54 PM GMT
French youths clash with police after shooting
LILLE, France, June 15 2008

Dozens of French youths clashed with police in a town in northeast France overnight, burning cars during a rampage triggered by the killing of a 22-year-old man, an official said Sunday.

Two police officers, two firefighters and five residents suffered minor injuries during the violence that raged until Sunday morning in Vitry-le-Francois, said Sylvaine Astic from the regional prefect's office.

Armed with baseball bats and firebombs, about 50 youths went on a rampage, torching cars and setting fire to garbage bins in the town of 17,000 people, Astic told AFP.

The violence started around 10:00 p.m. (2000 GMT) after the 22-year-old man was gunned down in Vitry-le-Francois. A suspect was arrested overnight.

About 60 police officers were dispatched to the town late Saturday and remained in Vitry-le-Francois on Sunday.

A police union issued a statement denouncing what it termed as "hysteria" in relations between French youth and police.

"This started out as a murderous settling of scores," said Nicolas Comte of the SGP-FO police union.

"But quickly this tragic event prompted a violent group to attack police with baseball bats and molotov cocktails as young bystanders watched passively, like spectactors to the 'riot show'," said Comte.

He linked the latest outbreak to the 2005 suburban riots, France's worst unrest in decades, when poor immigrant-heavy areas around Paris and other major cities exploded into three weeks of violence.

"Nothing has been resolved since. The fire is still burning under the ashes," said Comte.

About 250 people took part in a silent march in Vitry-le-Francois on Sunday, led by the victim's mother who wept as she walked holding a photograph of her son through the low-income neighbourhood of Rome-Saint-Charles.

The last time there was major rioting was in the Paris suburb of Villiers-le-Bel in November when two teenagers riding a motorbike died after they collided with a police car. The incident led to three days of riots.

More than 100 police officers were injured in Villiers-le-Bel when rioters armed with hunting rifles and pellet guns opened fire, a new, worrisome turn in the ongoing clashes with police in the suburbs.

from Lexis Nexis

Le Figaro

Vitry-le-François : le meurtre serait lié à la drogue

C.J. ( avec AFP et Le Monde
16/06/2008 | Mise à jour : 22:23 |

Le suspect a reconnu avoir un «différend portant sur plusieurs milliers d'euros» dans un trafic de cannabis avec le groupe qu'accompagnait le jeune homme abattu samedi.

Une confrontation sanglante liée à un trafic de cannabis. Les enquêteurs lèvent petit à petit le voile sur le meurtre, samedi, à Vitry-le-François d'un jeune homme, abattu d'une balle dans la tête par un ancien militaire, et dont la mort avait provoqué une nuit d'affrontements entre jeunes et forces de l'ordre. Le suspect, âgé de 22 ans, a reconnu avoir tiré sur la victime et expliqué avoir un différend concernant un trafic de cannabis avec le groupe de jeunes auquel appartenait la victime, a affirmé le procureur de la République. Cette querelle portait sur «plusieurs milliers d'euros».

Le meurtrier présumé, qui a été déféré au parquet lundi, « se sentait harcelé, menacé et il s'est rendu à ce rendez-vous avec une carabine 22 long rifle», a indiqué la magistrate. L'ancien soldat n'aurait toutefois pas visé la victime. Il a ainsi «répété» pendant sa garde à vue, «qu'il ne connaissait pas Mohamed». Des explications qui vont dans le sens du témoignage d'un des proches de Mohamed qui confiait au Monde, que son ami avait été fauché par «une balle perdue». «Mohamed a voulu séparer deux types qui se battaient», a-t-il assuré. Le procureur a pour sa part affirmé qu'on ignorait tout du rôle de la victime, inconnue des services de police et « appréciée de tous »...

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