Urban violence continued for the 10th night straight
As France’s urban violence flared again for its 10th night straight, police become more robust in arresting trouble-makers, signalling the government’s resolve in ending the rampages.
Here is a timeline of the unrest:
Wednesday, October 19:
- Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy declares a “war without mercy” on violence in the suburbs.
Tuesday, October 25:
- During a visit to the Paris suburb of Argenteuil, Sarkozy is pelted with stones and bottles. He describes rebellious youths in such districts as “rabble”.
Thursday, October 27:
- Two boys in the suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, Bouna Traore, a 15-year-old of Malian background, and Zyed Benna, a 17-year-old of Tunisian origin, flee a police identity check. They scale the wall of an electrical relay station and are electrocuted as they try to hide near a transformer.
- Youths in the suburb, hearing of the deaths, go on a rampage, burning 23 vehicles and vandalising buildings and hurling stones and bottles at riot police.
Friday, October 28:
- Four hundred youths clash with police in Clichy-sous-Bois, throwing stones, bottles and Molotov cocktails. Twenty-three officers are hurt and their colleagues are forced to fire rubber bullets to push back mobs. Thirteen people are arrested and 29 vehicles are burned.
Saturday, October 29:
- Five hundred people hold a silent march through Clichy-sous-Bois in memory of the dead teenagers.
- Violence resumes at night. Twenty vehicles are burned. Nine people are detained, some of them for carrying hammers or petrol cans.
Sunday, October 30:
- Clashes occur on the outskirts of Clichy-sous-Bois. Six police officers are hurt, 11 people are arrested and eight vehicles are torched. A police teargas grenade hits a mosque, prompting anger among the suburb’s large Muslim community.
Monday, October 31:
- Running clashes between youths and police take place in Clichy-sous-Bois and in surrounding suburbs. Nineteen people are arrested and 68 vehicles are torched.
Tuesday, November 1:
- Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin meets the families of the dead teenagers.
- Riots and clashes erupt in several suburbs to the north and west of Paris. Altogether, 180 vehicles are torched and 34 people arrested.
Wednesday, November 2:
- President Jacques Chirac tells ministers “tempers must calm down.”
- Villepin and Sarkozy cancel overseas trips to deal with the spreading violence.
- Trouble erupts in 22 suburban towns north, south, east and west of Paris. A handicapped woman suffers severe burns when youths set a bus on fire. Police say 315 vehicles are torched and at least 15 people arrested.
Thursday, November 3:
- A criminal investigation is opened into the deaths of the two teenagers.
- Sarkozy says more than 140 people have been arrested since the violence began.
- The riots resume at night, but for the first time spread to other areas around France, in Dijon, Marseille and in Normandy. Seven cars are also set alight in central Paris. In all, 517 vehicles are torched in and around the capital and another 78 people are arrested.
Friday, November 4:
- Arson hit-and-run attacks take place in suburbs around Paris and other French cities. A total of 897 vehicles are torched and more than 250 people arrested.
Saturday, November 5:
- Paris Prosecutor General Yves Bot says “we can see organised actions, a strategy” in the violence.
- The rampages again take place in suburbs outside Paris and other cities. At least 70 people are arrested and over 600 vehicles burned. Police use seven helicopters with lights and cameras to chase fast-moving youths who set fire to property then flee.
Sunday, November 06, 2005