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France

Youths riot after teen dies while fleeing police

©

Video by Aurore Cloe DUPUIS

Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2009-08-11

Groups of angry youths torched cars, set rubbish bins on fire and threw rocks at police in the eastern Paris suburb of Bagnolet on Monday evening, a day after an 18-year-old man died in a motorbike crash while fleeing police.

The suburbs of Paris were once again the scene of violence Monday evening following the death of 18-year-old Yakou Sanogo, who was killed Sunday in a motorbike accident as he was being pursued by a police car.

Several cars, a bus, and rubbish bins were set ablaze in the eastern suburb of Bagnolet, in what appeared to be a game of hide and seek between police and groups of local youth.

In the neighbourhood from which the victim hailed, police were targeted with projectiles at just before 11pm Paris time (GMT+2).

Officers say there were no serious injuries. Monday’s incidents were reportedly less severe than those on the night of the accident. “Tension is starting to go down again,” the mayor of Bagnolet, Marc Everbecq, told AFP.

Cause of death

An investigation is underway to determine whether the police have any responsibility in the accident. Some residents in Bagnolet accuse the police of having “pushed” Sanogo.

According to the official autopsy, Sanogo’s died of a “thoracic injury” sustained when he crashed into a metal barrier at a street that had been closed to entry.

The autopsy yielded no evidence of other injuries, which was presumed to rule out the theory that Sanogo had been hit by the police vehicle.

2005: never forget

The Sanogo death has stirred up memories among many locals of an incident that took place on November 17, 2005 in the northern suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois. Then, three youths had died after a similar chase.

The incident unleashed an unprecedented wave of violence in the suburbs of cities all over France. Final reports spoke of 300 buildings and 10,000 vehicles set on fire, as well as 130 injuries among police and rioters.

On Monday, French Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux and the mayor of Bagnolet issued a public appeal for calm, fearing an acceleration of violence.

Date created : 2009-08-11

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