News and Commentary

WATCH: Rioters Launch Projectiles, Fireworks At Paris Police Amid Coronavirus Lockdown Tension

   DailyWire.com
A trash in burns in the street during clashes in Villeneuve-la-Garenne, in the northern suburbs of Paris, early on April 21, 2020. - Tension with the police erupted again on the evening of April 20 in Villeneuve-la-Garenne near Paris, where a motorcycle accident involving the police had provoked the first clashes with residents two days before. (Photo by GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT / AFP)
GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT/AFP via Getty Images

Tensions in Paris over what has been deemed by some residents as “heavy-handed” and “racist” coronavirus lockdown enforcement erupted over the last few days, with rioters taking action against law enforcement, including launching projectiles and fireworks at officers and lighting police vehicles on fire. Some of the rioting was caught on video and posted on social media.

“Crowds of youths targeted riot police with fireworks and torched rubbish bins in a third night of unrest on the outskirts of Paris where a heavy police presence to enforce a lockdown has exacerbated tensions,” Reuters reports.

“The violence erupted in Villeneuve-la-Garenne, in the north of the city, and continued into the early hours of Monday,” Sky News reports. In response, several police vehicles were dispatched to the area and police, decked out in riot gear, moved in on the rioters.

The source of the tension appears to be the critical injury of a 30-year-old man of Arab Muslim origin. The man, who was riding motorcycle, crashed into the open door of a police car on Saturday and was seriously wounded. Prosecutors have now opened an investigation into how the man was injured, but residents say that the situation is “an example of police heavy-handedness against ethnic minority communities during the lockdown,” Sky News notes.

As video evidence shows, residents hurled projectiles, launched fireworks, and set both police cars and trash bins on fire. Below is some of the footage of the riots in the area posted on social media by French journalist Taha Bouhafs, including one video showing fireworks “targeting” a civilian vehicle, which quickly turns and speeds away (fourth post):

Reuters provides some more context to the Villeneuve-La-Garenne riots:

France’s banlieues — high-rise, low-income neighbourhoods that encircle many of its cities — are frequently flashpoints of anger over social and economic inequality and allegations of heavy-handed policing. …

France’s lockdown permits people to leave home only to buy groceries, go to work, seek medical care or exercise. Some local residents said officers deliberately opened the door into the path of the motorcyclist, who required surgery to his leg. An investigation was underway, police said.

Unrest also broke out on the night of Monday to Tuesday in the neighbouring districts of Gennevilliers, Clichy-La-Garenne and Asnieres.

The head of France’s largest police union said he fears that the situation is turning into another “2005,” a reference to weeks-long nationwide riots that broke out in response to the deaths of two youths who fled police in a Parisian suburb.

“If tomorrow we’re confronted by widespread urban violence, we would have trouble keeping on top of it unless a curfew was put in place, and the army called in to help enforce it,” said SGP Unite’s Yves Lefebvre, according to Reuters.

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